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

Sunday, March 20, 2005
Good morning, this is Drew Hardesty with the Forest Service Utah Avalanche Center with your backcountry avalanche and mountain weather advisory.  Today is Sunday, March 20, 2005, and its 7:30 in the morning.

Snowbird Mountain Resort will be holding a free BEACON AND EGGS Easter transceiver hunt this Saturday March 26.  Contestants will compete for prizes, including a season pass for the 05/06 season.  For more information, go to www.snowbird.com/events/events/beaconandeggs.html.
Current Conditions: 
Ahead of the front, on a southwesterly flow, the mountains picked up 4-6” of snow of about 8-10% density.  As of 6am, the front is just overhead, and we can expect some locally heavy snowfall this morning in areas favored by a northwest flow.  Overnight lows were in the mid-to-upper twenties, but temps should drop during the day.  The more southwesterly-exposed anemometers had wind speeds of 20-25mph with some gusts near 40, but they should shift to the northwest this morning and average 15-20mph. 

Avalanche Conditions:
After experiencing numerous collapses during their tour in White Pine yesterday, a ski party remotely triggered a hard slab avalanche 1-3’ deep and 150’ wide.  The avalanche was on a north-northwest facing slope at 9700’ with the slope angle of at least 35 degrees.  This is the second day where a party experienced collapsing on steep upper elevation shady slopes (the first being Friday in Cardiac Bowl) - both areas with a skiff of faceted snow that then received the most snow and wind on Thursday. 

For today, the danger will be on the rise.  Backcountry travelers will want to watch for freshly blown wind-drifts along the ridgelines and along steep breakovers and gulley sidewalls.  Cornice drops, column isolations, and test slopes will yield some important information about snow stability.  Collapsing and cracking will provide clues for caution as well.  With high snowfall rates, avalanches will be either within the new snow or fail at the old snow surface. Avalanches may still be triggered at a distance today at mid and upper elevation shady slopes. 

Bottom Line (Salt Lake and Park City mountains)
The avalanche danger is MODERATE this morning and will likely rise to CONSIDERABLE on mid and upper elevation steep wind drifted slopes.  With the wind shift this morning, many exposed aspects will have fresh wind drifts. 

Bottom Line (Provo and Ogden mountains) With more snow and wind, the avalanche danger is already CONSIDERABLE on all steep wind drifted slopes.  Non wind drifted slopes will have a MODERATE danger.

Danger Scale:  http://www.avalanche.org/~uac/ed-scale.htm

Mountain Weather: (You can find the afternoon Weather Update here.)
We’ll have a period of intense snowfall this morning where the favored areas may pick up another 6-10” by late afternoon.  Winds will be 15-20 from the northwest.  8000’ highs will be in the upper twenties with 10,000’ temperatures dropping to the upper teens. 

The Powderbirds flew one run in Cardiff yesterday and will be grounded today due to weather.

If you have any snow or avalanche observations, call and leave a message at 524-5304 or 1-800-662-4140, or e-mail 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 Monday morning.

Thanks for calling.