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, January 05, 2006  7:30am
Good morning, this is Evelyn Lees with the Forest Service Utah Avalanche Center with your backcountry avalanche and mountain weather advisory.  Today is Thursday, January 05, 2006, and it’s about 7:30 am.

Bruce Tremper will be giving a free “Science of Avalanches” talk this Saturday night, at 7 pm, at the Treasure Mountain Middle School in Park City.  He will be repeating the talk Tuesday, Jan 10th, at 7 pm at the SLC REI.


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

Current Conditions:

High pressure is in command this morning, and under clear skies temperatures have warmed to near 20 degrees at many ridgeline locations.  Winds are steadily decreasing, and generally less than 15 mph from a northwesterly direction.  Turning and riding conditions are very good on all aspects this morning in creamy powder, with easy trail breaking.  As the day progresses, the sun and warm temperatures will dampen the snow on the steep sunny slopes.


Avalanche Conditions:

Explosive control work yesterday pulled out yet another big one on the Park City side in uncompacted terrain – 3 to 6’ deep, 600’ wide, running on an ice crust.  This was on a heavily wind loaded, easterly facing slope at 9,500’.  With better visibility, there were also more reports of deep natural and explosive triggered slides that ran during the Monday/Tuesday time frame.  This puts us back to the same old problem – there are only isolated places where the weight of a person could trigger one of these deeper slides, but if you do, you’re toast.


It is also still possible to trigger a shallower, new snow slide, especially in wind drifted areas.  An intentional cornice drop in Alexander yesterday triggered a 100’ wide by 18” deep slide.  There is the scary potential for the weight of one of these smaller new snow slides to step down and trigger a deeper slide.


I also expect some wet snow activity today on steep sunny slopes due to the rapidly warming temperatures and direct sun.  As the snow heats up, stay off of and out from under steep sunny slopes, especially avoiding terrain traps such as gullies. 


Bottom Line:

The avalanche danger is MODERATE today on slopes steeper than 35 degrees, above about 9,000’.  There are isolated places where a person could trigger a deep, dangerous slide, on west through north through east facing slopes.  Avoid traditionally shallow snow pack areas, especially those that were heavily wind loaded during the last storm.  The avalanche danger will rise to MODERATE on steep sunny slopes with day time heating.  The danger is generally LOW below about 9,000’ (8,500’ in the Ogden area mountains) and on slopes less steep than about 35 degrees.


Mountain Weather:

High pressure will dominate the weather through Friday.  This will bring clear skies and a strong warming trend today, with 10,000’ temperatures climbing into the mid 30’s, and 8,000’ temperatures into the mid 40’s.  The northwesterly winds will remain generally less than 15 mph.  It will be a copy cat day tomorrow, but with temperatures another 5 degrees warmer.  The ridge will give way for the weekend, with the best chance for snow Sunday into Sunday night.  

Click HERE for other weather links


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


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.  Today, they will 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.

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