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.



Thursday, December 22, 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 Thursday, December 22, 2005, and its about 7:30 am.

Check out our new graphical advisory format. You can update your bookmarks to this link:


We will publish both this text-based advisory as well as the new graphical version so you can choose which one you prefer. Let us know about any formatting problems.

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

Current Conditions:
A warm and windy storm is starting to affect the Wasatch Mountains this morning which will bring snowfall until around 10 am. Snow levels are around 8000. 10,000 temperatures remained warm overnight in the mid 30s and are currently around freezing with 8000 temperatures around 40. Ridgetop wind speeds have been picking up and are in the 20 mph range gusting into the 50s

Avalanche Conditions:
No avalanche activity was reported from Wednesday and most people were not finding any collapsing within the snowpack either. Even though the snowpack seems to be mostly stable, one of our observers put it best by saying its hard to trust.

The first concern for today will be fresh snow and wind drifts. I think the new snow should bond fairly well to the old surface however, whenever there are significant winds with new snowfall we need to pay attention to any potential drifting. Perform slope cuts on any test slopes you can find. Jump on obvious drifts that are in safe terrain to see how they react.

My next concern has to do with the extended period of warm temperatures we are experiencing. I would avoid any steep slopes especially terrain traps at lower elevations that have damp, loose snow. Look for rollerballs and pin wheeling which are signs of wet snow. Poke your hand or ski pole into the snow to see if it is damp and loose. If you are finding these conditions, stay off of steep slopes.


Bottom Line:
There is a MODERATE danger today of triggering a fresh wind slab along the upper elevation ridgelines. There is also a MODERATE danger of wet avalanches below about 7000 to 8000 feet.

Mountain Weather:
Light snow is falling in the mountains. 1 to 3 inches is expected this morning with scattered showers possible through the afternoon. Ridgetop temperatures will drop into the upper 20s during the snowfall and winds will continue to be blustery in the 20 to 30 mph range this morning then tapering off a bit this afternoon.

Another warm storm system will affect the mountains of northern Utah again tonight bringing a better shot of snow with another 6 inches possible. Ridgetop temperatures will remain around freezing and ridgetop winds will be in the 20 to 30 mph range from the west southwest then switching northwest late.

High pressure sets in for the weekend and into Monday.

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

Click here for Seasonal Weather History Charts.

Yesterday, Wasatch Powderbird Guides were in Cardiff and Grizzly Gulch. They probably wont get out today but if they do theyll be in Mineral, Cardiff, Days, Silver, Grizzly and American Fork. For more info, call 742-2800.

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)

Evelyn Lees will update this advisory by 7:30 Friday morning. Thanks for calling.