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



Sunday, November 27, 2005  5pm
Good morning, this is Bruce Tremper with the Forest Service Utah Avalanche Center with your backcountry avalanche and mountain weather bulletin.  Today is Sunday, November 27, 2005, and it’s about 7 am.  We are now on our normal winter schedule and will be issuing daily avalanche advisories and weather bulletins for the duration of the season.

There will be two showings of the new TGR film “Tangerine Dream” at Brewvies Thursday, December 1, at 7 and 9 pm.  This is a fundraiser for the UAC, sponsored by our partner, The Friends of the Utah Avalanche Center.  Advance tickets are available at Black Diamond retail or www.FeedTheHabit.com.

Next week our staff will be giving two free avalanche awareness talks.  The first is Tuesday, November 29th at the Salt Lake REI.  The second is Thursday, December 1st at the Sandy REI.  Both are at 7pm.  These talks are great for all ages and all types of recreation.

For a quick glance at avalanche classes in the Salt Lake and Park City area, (Click Here).

Current Conditions:   
Snow continued overnight with a few lake effect snow bands drifting into the Wasatch Range.  Alta picked up another 7 to 11 inches of very light snow overnight, making their storm total around 2-3 feet depending on where you measure it.  Typical of northwest flow, upper Big Cottonwood Canyon squeezed out only 3 inches overnight making their storm total around a foot and a half and at mid Big Cottonwood Canyon.  Ridge top winds dropped from the 40 mph northwest winds yesterday to 20 mph north-northwest winds this morning.  Temperatures are mighty chilly—around 10 degrees at 8,000’ and near zero along the ridge tops.

Avalanche Conditions:
At least on the north facing slopes, it’s what I call a “foof on top of foof” situation.  SNOW PROFILE  In other words, the old snow surface on the shady slopes is nothing but deep, weak, sugary faceted snow.  And now we have new, soft, foofy snow on top of old, deep foofy snow.  Normally, when we get a couple feet of new snow on top of all this weak, faceted snow we have much more avalanche activity, but in this case, the new snow is not creating much of a slab except in wind drifted areas.  PHOTO.  So today you will need to watch out for two kinds of avalanche problems:

First, the northwest winds created localized, soft wind slabs mostly along the upper elevation ridges, and as always, you should avoid all slopes steeper than 35 degrees with recent wind deposits.  Second, very weak facted snow underlies all the new snow on all slopes that face the north and east quadrants of the compass above about 9,000’, especially in wind sheltered areas.  So you should avoid slopes approaching 35 degrees and steeper on shady slopes.  Yesterday one skier was able to trigger a soft slab on a 33 degree, north facing slope but it was not steep enough to slide.  The avalanche danger will likely rise later in the week when warmer, denser snow creates more of a slab on top of all of our very weak buried layers.

Finally, watch out for lots of buried rocks and stumps under the light density new snow, especially on slopes that face the south half of the compass.

Bottom Line:
The avalanche danger will remain MODERATE on any slope steeper than 35 degrees with recent wind deposits and also MODERATE on any slope facing the northwest, north through east above 9,000’ approaching 35 degrees or steeper.  If heavy snow continues to fall through the day, the danger will likely rise to Considerable.

Mountain Weather: 
Cold, unstable airmass continues to dominate the weather of northern Utah.  The flow has turned north-northwesterly, so lake effect snow bands are now drifting into the Oquirrh Mountains and down the Salt Lake Valley instead of the Wasatch Range.  The ridge top winds are forecast to turn northwest again for awhile today, but the airmass is rapidly stabilizing at the same time.  This means that the Wasatch Mountains will continue to receive light snow showers most of the morning, but they will probably be in the 3-6 inch range.  Snow should taper off this afternoon and we should see quite a bit of sun poking through today, especially in the afternoon. 


Temperatures today will remain mighty chilly.  8,000’ temperatures will hover around 10 degrees with zero overnight.  10,000’ temperatures are near zero this morning and will rise to around 5 degrees today and be zero again tonight.  Ridge top winds should remain around 15 mph from the north-northwest this morning and turn northwest later in the morning


 Extended Forecast:

We are in a snowy pattern for the next week.  We have a bit of a break in the action tonight and Monday morning, but clouds should return again Monday night with snow on a southwesterly flow starting Tuesday morning through Wednesday morning and another pulse Thursday through Saturday.  Temperatures for the next storms are much warmer—20-25 degrees—which should put heavier, denser snow on top of our very light snow.


Please report any backcountry snow and avalanche conditions you observe.  We need all the information we can get.  You can call (801) 524-5304 or 1-800-662-4140, or email to [email protected] or fax to 801-524-6301.  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.

To have this advisory automatically e-mailed to you each day, click HERE.  (You must re-sign up this season even if you were on the list last season.)

The annual report for 2004-05 is now on the web. (Click HERE, 8mb)

Drew Hardesty will update this advisory Monday morning.  Thanks for calling.