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.



Friday, December 02, 2005  7:00am
Good morning, this is Brett Kobernik with the Forest Service Utah Avalanche Center with your backcountry avalanche and mountain weather advisory.  Today is Friday, December 02, 2005, and it’s about 7:00 am.

Wasatch Touring will sponsor the 1st annual Avalanche Roundtable discussion on Monday, December 5th at 7:30 pm in Memory Grove at the Memorial House.  Three avalanche survivors will tell their stories, including mountaineer Jeff Lowe, and locals Rick Hoffman and Steve Walcher.  It is free and open to the public.

The 1st annual Wasatch Winter Film Festival (a.k.a.The White Room), featuring local amateur ski & snowboard films, will be held at Prospector Square Conference Center in Park City this Saturday, December 3rd, from 6:00 to 10:00 p.m.  The White Room is a fundraiser for the Utah Avalanche Center and the Youth Winter Sports Alliance.  More information is available at www.freeridemagazine.com.  Advance tickets are available at www.FeedTheHabit.com

Current Conditions:   
We are awaiting the arrival of a cold front that looks like it won’t produce as much snow as originally thought but should give us another 8 inches or so.  Up to 4 inches of snow fell in the mountains overnight.  Temperatures at 8000 feet are 32 degrees or just above while ridgetop temperatures are in the upper 20s.  Ridgetop wind speeds are 20 to 25 mph from the southwest with gusts into the 60s at the more exposed locations.

Avalanche Conditions:
Three skiers were caught in separate avalanches on Thursday.  All were caught, carried and ended up on the surface uninjured.  I have more details on the 364-1591 line and will have additional information on the web before 9am.  Check HERE for details when they’re ready.

The first two skiers triggered wind slabs that were formed over the last couple of days.  These broke above the Thanksgiving storm layer.  The third skier triggered a pocket that broke into old snow from before Thanksgiving.  These avalanches clearly illustrate the two types of problems we need to watch for again today.  (Current Snow Profile)

The first problem is fresh wind slabs.  With continued winds overnight I would still expect to find a number of these especially along the upper elevation ridges on northeast facing slopes.  Yesterday, ski cuts and cornice drops were effective in revealing these but they will probably be more stubborn today letting you get farther out on them before cracking.

The next problem is weakness with the deeper buried facets.  We have not received a rapid enough loading event to produce a widespread avalanche cycle yet although people are finding pockets that are avalanching.  These are in steep rocky terrain where the snow pack is shallower.  They can be well off of the upper ridgelines.  Cracking and collapsing are stern reminders that you are in areas that have this potential. 

Bottom Line:
This morning the avalanche danger is MODERATE.  This means human triggered avalanches are possible.  You will most likely find these in fresh drifts on northeast facing slopes steeper then 35 degrees at the upper elevations.  There is also a MODERATE danger in steep areas that have a shallow, rocky snowpack which can be found in upper elevations and lower elevations as well and generally on the northern half of the compass.  Pay attention out there as today is not a day to go out on just any slope.  THE DANGER WILL BE INCREASING WITH ADDITIONAL SNOW AND WIND.

Mountain Weather: 
Snow should start late this morning and continue through the day with 8 inches possible.  Ridgetop temperatures will drop into the lower 20s.  Ridgetop winds will start out stronger and decrease into the 20 mph range switching to the northwest.


A series of shortwaves will affect the area this weekend bringing periods of snow but no significant storm event is scheduled.  Ridgetop daytime temperatures will drop into the single digits as a cool northerly flow sets in for early in the week.



Please report any backcountry snow and avalanche conditions you observe.  We appreciate all information.  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)

Evelyn Lees will update this advisory Saturday morning.  Thanks for calling.