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.

 

AVALANCHE ADVISORY

Friday, December 09, 2005 7:30am
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 09, 2005, and its about 7:30 am.

UDOT has a highway avalanche control work hotline for Little Cottonwood road, which is updated as needed. 801-975-4838.

Up coming avalanche awareness talks by the UAC staff include:
Dec 13 7 pm REI, 3285 E, 3300 S, SLC
Dec 14 6:30 pm Mtn. High Motorsports, 8262 S Redwood Rd, West Jordan
Dec 14 7 pm South Valley Unitarian, 6876 S Highland Dr.

Current Conditions:
Most people out in the backcountry yesterday were grinning ear to ear. Riding conditions are excellent. High pressure affects the weather today through the weekend with current ridgetop temperatures around 20 and ridgetop wind speeds in the 10 mph range from the northwest with gusts to 40 at the more exposed locations.

Avalanche Conditions:
I personally like the way our snowpack is shaping up right now. In many areas the deeper buried weak snow is gaining strength and there is a thick, strong layer of snow over the top of it. Yesterday, explosives along the Park City Ridgeline and also in the Ogden mountains produced no avalanching. This control work was done in non skier compacted terrain which gives us some good information about the strength of the backcountry snowpack.
(Regional Snow Profile this profile can also be found daily off our home page under avalanche products)

However, it is still possible to trigger avalanches as a group did yesterday on Miller Hill in upper American Fork Canyon. A ski cut produced a soft slab avalanche on an east facing slope at around 10,300 feet in elevation. It was 12-18 inches deep, around 100 feet wide and ran about 300 feet vertical distance. It was more then likely a wind drift that formed during the last storm.

Along with the possibility of triggering one of these wind slabs today, I would still also watch for pockets where you may trigger an avalanche into old snow. These will be in areas above about 9000 feet on the northerly portions of the compass. The slope will have to be 35 degrees or steeper and will most likely be in areas that are rocky and shallow. Use your inverted ski pole to constantly check for shallow areas as the snowpack still has a lot of variability from place to place.

Bottom Line:
The avalanche danger is MODERATE on slopes steeper than 35 degrees with recent drifts of wind blown snow. A MODERATE danger still exists in steep, rocky areas that have a thin snowpack. This danger is generally on the north half of the compass.

Mountain Weather:
For today well see mostly sunny skies with ridgetop temperatures in the mid 20s and ridgetop wind speeds in 10 to 15 mph range from the northwest. This weekend, ridgetop temperatures will be in the upper 20s with fairly calm winds. For the long range, at least one weather model depicts a possible storm mid week next week.

 

Seasonal Weather History Charts.

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 by 7:30 Saturday morning. Thanks for calling.