Wasatch Cache National Forest
In partnership with: Utah State Parks and Recreation, The Friends of the Utah Avalanche Center, Utah Department of Emergency Services and Homeland Security and Salt Lake County.


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Avalanche advisory

Thursday, February 24, 2005
Good morning, this is Evelyn Lees with the Forest Service Utah Avalanche Center with your backcountry avalanche and mountain weather advisory.  Today is Thursday February 24th, 2005, and its 7:30 in the morning.

Current Conditions:
Under clear skies, temperatures are in the upper teens to low twenties this morning, with the colder air pooled in the valley bottoms.  Winds continue to be from the southeast, in the 10 to 20 mph range across the higher peaks, with gusts to near 30.  In the battle of wind and sun versus powder, the powder is losing.  However, all is not lost - on wind sheltered, shady mid and upper elevation slopes there are some strong holdouts of good, recrystalized powder.

Avalanche Conditions:
Two human triggered slides were reported yesterday.  On the Little Cottonwood Canyon side of Superior, a skier on a 42 degree, northeasterly facing slope triggered and was carried by a small soft slab avalanche, which then released a 3 to 4’ deep, 250’ wide slab avalanche.  He took the big ride, and with the luck of the Wasatch was injured, but not dead. (Superior 1, Superior 2)  The second slide was triggered by a snowboarder along Pioneer Ridge, who fell through a cornice.  He triggered a 2-3’ deep, 50’ wide slab, and was carried to the bottom of the gully and injured.  There were also reports of isolated wind slabs.  A natural in White Pine that occurred during the storm Sunday.

The unrelenting, almost daily avalanche activity indicates the variety of weak layers in the snowpack.  If you are traveling on steep slopes, you need to be thinking about these different snowpack problems.  It is possible to trigger the old or new wind drifts, shallow soft slabs or sluffs.  As the sun heats the snow, damp sluffs and “push-a-lanches” could occur on steep sunny slopes and also on the steep, shady low and mid elevation slopes.  And finally, there are still isolated spots where a person or smaller slide could trigger a deeper slab avalanche.

Bottom Line (Salt Lake, Park City, Provo, and Ogden mountains):
The avalanche danger is MODERATE on slopes steeper than about 35 degrees, especially any slope with recent or old deposits of wind drifted snow. On slopes less steep than about 35 degrees, the avalanche danger is LOW.
(http://www.avalanche.org/~uac/ed-scale.htm for an explanation of avalanche danger ratings.)

Mountain Weather:
(You can find the afternoon Weather Update here.)
With a high pressure ridge over northern Utah, skies will remain clear and sunny today, with temperatures in the mid 20’s at 10,000’ and the upper 30’s at 8,000’.  The easterly winds will be in the 10 to 15 mph range, with gusts to near 30.  The best chance for light snow will be on Saturday, before another ridge builds in for Sunday through Tuesday.

Wasatch Powderbird Guides did not fly yesterday, and if they can fly today, they will have one ship in American Fork, Mill Creek or the Sessions, and the other will be in Mineral, Cardiff, Days, Silver, Grizzly and White Pine.

If you have any snow or avalanche observations, call and leave a message at 524-5304 or 1-800-662-4140, or e-mailing us at [email protected].  Fax is 524-6301.

UDOT COTTONWOOD CANYONS HOTLINE FOR ROAD CLOSURE AND AVALANCHE CONTROL INFORMATION: 975-4838.  We try to update our early morning avalanche activity report by around 5:30 am at 364-1591.

The information in this advisory is from the U.S. Forest Service, which is solely responsible for its content.  This advisory describes general avalanche conditions and local variations always occur.

Brett Kobernik will update this advisory by 7:30 on Friday morning.

Thanks for calling.

For an explanation of avalanche danger ratings: