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.



Saturday, December 17, 20057:30am
Good morning, this is Evelyn Lees with the Forest Service Utah Avalanche Center with your backcountry avalanche and mountain weather advisory.Today is Saturday, December 17, 2005, and itís about 7:30 am.

We are giving two free avalanche awareness talks next week:
Dec 20th††††††† 7pm††† Wasatch Touring, SLC
Dec 21st†††††††† 7pm††† Wanship Fire Station

The beacon locator park at Snowbird is now open and free to the public.Itís sponsored by Wasatch Backcountry Rescue and Snowbird and located just off the bypass road in upper Little Cottonwood Canyon.

Current Conditions: ††
Under cloudy skies, light snow has just started to fall in the mountains.Temperatures are once again in the chilly single digits this morning at most elevations, and the winds are generally light, less than 10 mph, with slightly higher speeds across the tallest peaks.

Wind sheltered, shady slopes have good riding conditions in soft, recrystallized powder, though itís difficult to find untracked snow.Southerly facing slopes are crusted and many upper elevations slopes are wind damaged, with mix of supportable and breakable wind crusts.The snowpack is getting weak and punchy at the low and mid elevations, so there is a risk of sinking in and hitting rocks or logs.

Avalanche Conditions:
Avalanche wise, the snow pack is about as exciting as the month old leftovers on the bottom shelf in my fridge.No new activity was reported from the backcountry yesterday, but there are still a few avalanche problems to be on the lookout for.The surface snow is sluffing on very steep, shady slopes, and any new snow we receive today will bond poorly to the hard crusts and weak surface snow.So if youíre in an area that receives more than about 3 inches of new snow, expect shallow sluffs on steep slopes of all aspects.There may also still be a few places where a person could trigger an old hard wind slab, which are most widespread along the upper elevation ridgelines and in open bowls (wind slab with surface hoar on top).Neither of these avalanche problems is likely to bury you, but these small slides could knock you off balance and send you for a ride down a steep chute or over a cliff.

Bottom Line:
The avalanche danger is generally LOW today, but that doesnít mean no danger.There are isolated steep slopes where a person could trigger a shallow sluff or an old wind drift.

Mountain Weather:
A weak storm system moving over northern Utah today will bring mostly cloudy skies, with 1 to 3 inches of mountain snow possible.The westerly winds should remain light, generally less than 15 mph. Cool temperatures will persist, with highs in the single digits to low teens.Snow showers will continue tonight through Monday, with a trace to a few inches possible each 12 hour period.Mountain temperatures will gradually warm into the upper teens and low 20ís by Monday.Then high pressure will return for mid week.

Regional Snow Profile (this profile can also be found daily off our home page under avalanche products)

Seasonal Weather History Charts.

Yesterday, Wasatch Powderbird Guides skied in Mineral, Cardiff, Silver, Days and Grizzly Gulch, and weather permitting, they will be in the same drainages today, plus stepping through American Fork to check on Cascade ridge conditions.

We appreciate any backcountry snow and avalanche conditions you observe.Call (801) 524-5304 or 1-800-662-4140, email [email protected] or fax 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.)

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

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

Drew Hardesty will update this advisory by 7:30 Sunday morning.Thanks for calling.