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.



Tuesday, December 27, 2005  7:30am
Good morning, this is Drew Hardesty with the Forest Service Utah Avalanche Center with your backcountry avalanche and mountain weather advisory.  Today is Tuesday, December 27, 2005, and it’s about 7:30 am.

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

Current Conditions:

Christmas arrived just in the nick of time, only a couple days late.  Storm totals across the range include 8-10” in the Ogden, Park City, and Provo mountains with the Cottonwoods picking up 10-15”.  Densities averaged about 11% with plenty of graupel thrown in the mix.  The blistering pre-frontal southwesterly winds averaged 30-40mph along the high peaks until about noon yesterday before veering around to the northwest.  Adding insult to injury, the northwesterly winds increased around midnight and have been blowing 20-25mph with the highest peaks suffering hourly averages in the fifties.  With the departing storm this morning, we’ll start to see some clearing and more reasonable wind speeds. 


Avalanche Conditions:

The new snow seemed to bond pretty well to the old snow surfaces yesterday, but this may well be a moot point with the somewhat inverted snow, heavy graupel and strong winds.  This combination will create both localized sensitive new wind drifts and more stubborn hard wind slabs in the mid and upper elevations of up to 1-3’.  Furthermore, the strong southerly winds from Monday morning and the moderate to strong northwesterly winds overnight will have loaded some starting zones further down the slope on a variety of aspects. Those in big, complicated terrain should exercise caution in more than just the usual upper elevation starting zones.  Cornice drops, slope cuts, and steep but safe test slopes will also give some localized information on representative slopes.  Regardless, it’ll be important to look for and avoid any smooth, pillowy, hollow-sounding drifts on steep lee terrain.  Beacons, probes, and shovels will be required and put only one person on the slope at a time.


With a rain crust up to 8500’ in the Provo and Ogden mountains, avalanches are more likely to run fast and far on this slick underlying bed surface.



Bottom Line:

The avalanche danger is CONSIDERABLE this morning in mid and upper elevation wind drifted slopes steeper than 35 degrees.  Human triggered avalanches will be probable in these areas.  Avalanches are likely to become more stubborn and more localized by the end of the day. Out of the wind affected zones, the danger is MODERATE. 


Mountain Weather:

The exiting storm system will leave the mountains with mostly to partly cloudy skies by the afternoon.  Winds will be 15-20 from the northwest.  10,000’ temps will be near 20 with 8000’ highs in the upper twenties.  The storm track stays active, with another cold front due early Thursday with another storm on tap for Saturday.


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 grounded.  If they can fly today, they’ll be in Silver, Days, Cardiff, American Fork, and Grizzly Gulch. 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 Wednesday morning.  Thanks for calling.