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.

 

The Friends of the Utah Avalanche Center Home page is: http://www.utahavalanchecenter.com

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Avalanche advisory

Thursday, March 31, 2005
Good morning, this is Brett Kobernik with the Forest Service Utah Avalanche Center with your backcountry avalanche and mountain weather advisory.  Today is Thursday, March 31, 2005, and its 7:30 in the morning.

Current Conditions:
Snowfall stopped in most mountain locations yesterday evening with the exception of the Cottonwoods picking up another 6 inches and around 4 inches along the Park City Ridgeline.This has been a significant snow storm for the northern Utah Mountains with Alta receiving 65 inches since Monday.Avalanches today have the potential to be large and deadly.Skies are clearing with frigid temperatures in the single digits at many mountain locations.Winds continue to blow from the northwest in the 15 to 20 mph range along the ridges but are showing signs of tapering off.

Avalanche Conditions:
As expected with any large, windy snowfall event, there was no shortage of avalanche activity on Wednesday.There was a widespread natural avalanche cycle in the Cottonwoods and the Mill Creek area that produced avalanches of all sizes.These were ranging from 12 inches to 3 feet deep.The Little Pine slide path in Little Cottonwood canyon pulled out naturally and covered the highway.A large natural avalanche in the mountains southeast of Salem started at around 10,000í feet and roared into a residential area luckily not hitting any houses.Control work at the ski resorts brought out numerous slab avalanches.A group of skiers in Mill D North on the Short Swing run were able to trigger a slab 12-18Ē deep, 100 feet wide that ran 100 to 150 feet vertical distance on a steep northwest facing roll.No one was caught.

For today, itís pretty cut and dry.Donít screw around on or below steep slopes.People in the know are avoiding all steep wind loaded terrain.This is mainly northeast through south facing slopes but you will need to pay attention to any cross loading on other aspects as well.The other concern for today will be the affect of direct sun on the fresh snow.Although temperatures at 10,000í are not supposed to get real warm today, the direct radiation from the sun will have a big impact on the newest snow.East, south, and west facing slopes are highly suspect for large natural avalanches today due to heating.Also, keep an eye on what is happening at lower elevations even on north aspects as these places will be warming as well.Stay well clear of run out zones as avalanches have the potential to run quite far.

Bottom Line (Salt Lake and Park City, Ogden and Provo mountains)
The avalanche danger is CONSIDERABLE on any steep slope that has recent deposits of wind drifted snow.CONSIDERABLE means natural avalanches are possible and human triggered avalanches are probable.People will most likely be able to trigger avalanches on steep slopes with fresh wind slabs and natural avalanches are most likely to slide due to warming on steep slopes facing the sun.This means slopes of 35 degrees and steeper.If you donít have excellent avalanche hazard evaluation skills, it probably is not the best day for you to go into the backcountry.

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

Mountain Weather:
(You can find the afternoon Weather Update here.)
Today we will see partly cloudy skies and ridgetop temperatures in the low 20s.There will be enough sun to affect the snow so again stay off of and out from underneath any slopes that will be receiving the sun.Winds will become light and variable by around noon.Clear skies and warmer temperatures are in store for Friday so we will again need to pay attention to wet avalanche activity.

A quick moving but energetic storm is still on track for Monday with a spring like ridge building in after.

Yesterday, Powderbird guides did not fly, and today they will be in Mineral, Cardiff, Days, Silver and Grizzly Gulch.

UDOT COTTONWOOD CANYONS HOTLINE FOR ROAD CLOSURE AND AVALANCHE CONTROL INFORMATION: 975-4838.

If you are getting out, we appreciate your snowpack and avalanche observations.Please call and leave a message at 524-5304 or 1-800-662-4140, or e-mail us at [email protected].Fax is 524-6301.

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.

Drew Hardesty will update this advisory by 7:30 on Friday morning.

Thanks for calling.