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

Wednesday, March 02, 2005
Good morning, this is Evelyn Lees with the Forest Service Utah Avalanche Center with your backcountry avalanche and mountain weather advisory.  Today is Wednesday March 2, 2005, and its 7:30 in the morning.

Current Conditions:
Skies are mostly clear this morning and temperatures are warming ahead of the weak disturbance headed our way.  Most mountain stations are in the upper teens to low 20’s.  The westerly winds are in the 10 to 15 mph range, with gusts into the 20’s.

The snowpack continues to sing the same song, with enjoyable, soft recrystalized snow on shady, wind sheltered mid and upper elevation slopes and a mix of crusts elsewhere.

Avalanche Conditions:
Yesterday’s backcountry avalanche activity consisted of loose sluffs and shallow new wind drifts or slabs, triggered on NW through E facing slopes.  These sluffs and slides were quite sensitive and running long distances in steep terrain, but were very shallow and generally predictable and manageable.  However, if they caught you by surprise in the wrong place, they are just large enough to take you for a ride.  They are failing on or running in weak, sugary recrystalized surface snow.  Today’s winds will continue to move snow around in the higher terrain, making the wind drifts more widespread and perhaps a bit deeper.

And if you are traveling on steep, northerly facing slopes, it may still be possible to trigger a deeper, wider avalanche into old snow, most likely on a slope with a shallower snowpack.

Bottom Line (Salt Lake, Park City, Provo, and Ogden mountains):
The avalanche danger is generally LOW, and human triggered avalanches are unlikely on most slopes.  There is a MODERATE danger on mid and upper elevation northwest through east facing slopes, approaching 40 degrees or steeper, especially with recent deposits of wind drifted snow.  (
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.)
A weak disturbance will cross the area late today through Thursday.  Clouds will be on the increase, with a chance of snow showers by late afternoon.  Temperatures will warm into the low 40’s at 8,000’ and the low 20’s at 10,000’.  The light southwesterly winds will increase into the 15 to 20 mph range today.  Light snow tonight and Thursday, with 3 to 6” possible.  A ridge of high pressure will then dominate through at least the middle of next week.  Weak short waves may drift through, producing occasional cloudiness. 

Wasatch Powderbird Guides did not fly yesterday.  Today they will be Mineral, Cardiff, Days, and Silver, returning through Grizzly and in Cascade.

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.

I will update this advisory by 7:30 on Thursday morning.

Thanks for calling.

For an explanation of avalanche danger ratings: