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 30, 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 30, 2005, and it’s about 7:30 am.

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Current Conditions:

3 to 6 inches of snow fell early Thursday morning throughout the Wasatch, a lot of this contained graupel.  Most people in the backcountry were not finding sensitive wind slabs and were riding steep terrain with quite a bit of confidence.  The new snow was somewhat prone to sluffing on the surface with just a few small slabs under cliff bands where the graupel had rolled downhill and pooled.  Current ridgetop temperatures are in the upper teens and ridgetop wind speeds are around 10 mph from the west.


Avalanche Conditions:

For today I would still watch for a few wind slabs along the upper elevation ridgelines.  It appears that these won’t be much of a problem but don’t let them surprise you if you are in steeper, exposed terrain.


The main thing to keep in mind for today and more importantly through the weekend is that the avalanche danger is going to be on the rise with a moist and windy storm predicted.  The new snow probably won’t add up enough during the day today to change conditions a whole lot but by Saturday morning we could see up to a foot of new snow which will be accompanied by fairly strong ridgetop winds that could form sensitive fresh wind slabs. 


Bottom Line:

Today there is a mostly LOW avalanche danger in the Ogden, Provo, and Salt Lake mountains this morning.  You may find a few areas in the Cottonwoods along the upper ridgelines with wind drifted snow where the danger is MODERATE but this is pockety.  It is important to keep in mind that the avalanche danger will be on the rise and may reach MODERATE in many areas by this afternoon.  The avalanche danger will be higher through the weekend.


Mountain Weather:

Ridgetop winds will be from a westerly direction in the 15 mph range increasing through out the day.  This morning’s cooler ridgetop temperatures will be on the rise through the day and will be into the mid to upper 20s this afternoon.  A warm front will bring snow which will start this afternoon and should really get underway late this afternoon and evening.  Snow levels will rise to around 8000’ by Saturday morning.  Confidence is good that we may see up to a foot of snow overnight but warm fronts are tricky in my book. 

Warm air advection continues through Saturday bringing more snow accompanied by strong southwest winds. 


The flow shifts to the northwest for a short period early Sunday morning with snow tapering off by noon.  Weather models show up to 2 inches of water with this snow which could translate into upwards of 20 inches total snowfall by Sunday.  Stay tuned.


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 did not fly and if they can fly today, they’ll be in Cardiff, Days, Silver, Grizzly, White Pine, American Fork, the Cascade ridgeline, and Lambs Canyon. For more info, call 742-2800.

Please report 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.

I will update this advisory by 7:30 Saturday morning.  Thanks for calling.