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 09, 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 9, 2005, and its 7:30 in the morning.

Current Conditions:
A high pressure ridge is firmly entrenched over the area, and temperatures are warming.  Many elevations did not drop below freezing last night, and are in the low 30’s this morning.  The northwesterly winds have settled down to a dull roar, with hourly averages generally in the 15 to 25 mph range, and gusts into the 30’s and 40’s.  The well worn snow still offers good turning and riding conditions in recrystalized powder on mid and upper elevation shady slopes and corn on sunny slopes.  The key is to find a slope that doesn’t look like a bowl full of spaghetti noodles, tracked from edge to edge.

Avalanche Conditions:
The warm overnight temperatures will increase the danger of wet snow slides today.  While most slopes will have a surface refreeze this morning, it is shallow and will be short lived.  Wet sluffs and wet slab activity will be most widespread in the areas where it hasn’t dropped below freezing for two nights now – much of the low and mid elevation terrain in both the Ogden and Provo area mountains.  Wet loose sluffs occur when the surface snow gets damp and sloppy.  “Corn slabs” are trickier – the snow surface is hard and seems stable, but the slab fails on a weak layer of damp snow beneath.  Yesterday, a skier in the Ogden mountains cracked out a slab on a southeast facing slope at 7,000’.  It didn’t move, but was about a foot deep, failing on wet facets. (Photo)  Wet sluffs may also occur on steep, shady slopes today at the mid and low elevations.

The persistent, northwesterly winds have created some shallow wind drifts, especially in upper elevation terrain, that will be sensitive to the weight of a person and should be avoided on steep slopes. 

Bottom Line (Salt Lake and Park City mountains):
The avalanche danger will rise to MODERATE with daytime heating on slopes steeper then about 35 degrees, with both wet loose sluffs and wet slab avalanches possible.  Also avoid steep slopes with recent or old wind drifts.
Bottom Line (Ogden and Provo mountains): The avalanche danger will rise to CONSIDERABLE with daytime heating on and below steep, sunny slopes, especially at the mid and lower elevations.  Natural wet sluffs and slabs are possible and human triggered slabs probable.  For an explanation of avalanche danger ratings go to:

Mountain Weather: (You can find the afternoon Weather Update here.)
High pressure centered over the west coast will keep a northerly flow over the area through Friday.  This morning’s strong, northwesterly winds will gradually decrease, into the 15 to 25 mph range.  Skies will be partly cloudy today, with mainly high thin clouds.  Temperatures will continue to warm, reaching near 50 at 8,000’ and into the mid to upper 30’s at 10,000’.  A change in the pattern is in sight, with a significant cooling trend starting Saturday, hopefully followed by a wetter pattern for next week.  

Yesterday, Wasatch Powderbird Guides did not fly.  If they can fly today, they will be in Mill Creek, Mineral, Cardiff, Days, Silver, Grizzly Gulch, American Fork and the Cascade Ridge area.

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.