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.



Wednesday, January 04, 2006  7:30am
Good morning, this is Bruce Tremper with the Forest Service Utah Avalanche Center with your backcountry avalanche and mountain weather advisory.  Today is Wednesday, January 04, 2006, and it’s about 7:30 am.

Backcountry travelers should avoid the private land in McDonold Draw area along the Park City ridgeline this afternoon as they will be sighting in their avalanche control guns. 


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

Current Conditions:

Light snow is falling this morning and we expect only a couple inches accumulation.  Ridge top temperatures are in the 20’s and the winds are 15-20 mph from the west.  Snow surface conditions include creamy, dense snow that rides real nice with easy trail breaking.


Avalanche Conditions:

Although there was not a lot of activity yesterday in the backcountry, explosive control yesterday morning at ski areas and highways produced some widespread activity in the new snow with some localized releases going deep and wide into old snow.  Some of these deep releases were 5 feet deep and 400 feet wide and ran on faceted snow near the ground.  (Click here for Photos) The deep avalanches occurred on all different aspects and in all parts of the Wasatch Range but were mainly at or above about 10,000’ in elevation with some down to 9,000’ in the Ogden area mountains.   I suspect that because the new snow is so dense and warm that most of the instabilities within the new snow will have settled out by this morning, but the deeper instabilities will take longer to settle out.  It’s one of those times where it’s difficult to trigger an avalanche but if you do, it could step down and create a very large and most likely unsurvivable avalanche.  The problem areas for these deep releases include shallow snowpack areas and also slopes that have received significant wind loading during the past storm.


Preliminary accident report from the weekend avalanche accident on Timpanogos can be found here.


Bottom Line:

The overall avalanche danger is CONSIDERABLE today on slopes steeper than 35 degrees, above about 9,000’ especially on slopes with recent deposits of wind drifted snow and in shallow snowpack areas.  The danger is MODERATE below 9,000’.


Mountain Weather:

We will get a few snow showers this morning as a weak short-wave passes by.  It shouldn’t add up to more than a couple inches then we should be left with some lingering clouds for the rest of today.  Ridge top winds should be 15-20 mph from the northwest today with ridge top temperatures in the mid teens.  Down at 8,000’ the high today should be in the mid 20’s.  Then we should have clear skies and much warmer for Thursday and Friday with a fast-moving storm for Saturday and a colder and wetter storm for about Sunday and wet again a week from today.


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 due to bad weather.  If they can get out today, they’ll be in Cardiff, Days, Silver, Grizzly and American Fork. 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.

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