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.



Saturday, January 07, 2006  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 Saturday, January 07, 2006, and it’s about 7:30 am.

Bruce Tremper will be giving a free “Science of Avalanches” talk tonight, 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:

Temperatures have been warm over the past few days forming crusts on east, south and west facing slopes.  You didn’t need too much of a northerly component before you found settled powder on Friday.  Moderate wind speeds on Friday did transport some snow at the higher elevations.  You’ll also find a melt freeze crust on many aspects below about 8000 or 8500 feet especially in treed areas.  Temperatures remained warm overnight and are now starting to drop, currently averaging in the mid 30s at 10,000’ and the mid 40s at 7000’.  Winds have been picking up and are into the 20 to 30 mph range from the southwest with numerous gusts between 60 and 70 at the highest elevations.


Avalanche Conditions:

Friday was a fairly quiet day with not much avalanche activity.  One natural loose wet slide did trigger a slab avalanche on Cardiac ridge which was about 12” deep and 60’ wide and sheared at a graupel layer.  This slab does demonstrate some weakness in the upper level of the snowpack but with each new day it’ll be harder to get this layer to shear.  I also found this weakness while traveling from Wolverine through Days Fork and this layer is more then likely the culprit from the 1 to 2 foot deep slide on Tuscarora that was released from a ski cut a couple days ago.


There was enough loose snow around for yesterdays winds to transport somewhat.  Overnight winds will have done the same.  Today you will want to look for fresh wind drifts.  For the most part I don’t think these will play a huge roll but these drifts along with some spotty weakness in the upper portion of the snowpack would make me pay close attention in the upper elevation terrain today.


As far as deep slab avalanches most avalanche workers agree that you’d have to be pretty unlucky to trigger a slide that breaks deep into early season weak snow but there is still a chance.  I’d still take caution in areas that have a thin, cold snowpack.  Suspect areas include higher elevation terrain where you were not able to travel earlier in the season due to lack of snow but now is covered.



Bottom Line:

There is a MODERATE avalanche danger at elevations above about 9,000 feet for both fresh wind drifts and deep slab avalanches.  Below 9,000 feet and on southerly facing slopes at all elevations the danger is generally LOW.


Mountain Weather:

We’ve already seen the high temperature for the day and temperatures will continue to decrease today and tonight.  Ridgetop temperatures will be around freezing and drop into the upper 20s by this afternoon.  Ridgetop winds will be blustery in the 30 to 40 mph range from the southwest this morning and decreasing a bit late in the day.  Skies will be mostly cloudy with a slight chance of snow showers during the day.


Tonight brings a better chance of snow with about 6” or better expected by sometime on Sunday.

Click HERE for other weather links


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 flew in American Fork, Silver, Days, Mill Creek and Lambs Canyon.  Today they probably won’t get out but will be in Cardiff, Days, Silver, Grizzly, White Pine, and American Fork if they can. 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.

Drew Hardesty will update this advisory by 7:30 Sunday morning.  Thanks for calling.