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.



Sunday, January 08, 2006  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 Sunday, January 08, 2006, and it’s about 7:30 am.

Bruce Tremper will be giving a free talk at the SLC REI on Tuesday at 7pm called The Science of Avalanches.  For more info, contact REI at 486-2100.


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


Current Conditions:

The first in a series of weak Pacific storms moved through yesterday and overnight, producing 3-5” in the Salt Lake and Ogden mountains.  The Logan mountains picked up 8-10” of about 12% density snow.  Strong southwest winds headlined the news on Saturday before the winds veered west northwesterly in the mid-afternoon.  They’re now blowing 25-30mph and should remain strong and blustery for much of the day.  Mountain temperatures, currently in the mid teens and upper twenties, will continue to fall.  It’s still snowing and blowing in the hills, but we should get a short-lived break about midday.  Snow surface conditions today will be a mix of scoured wind and sun crusts, soft creamy powder in the sheltered trees and some soft and hard slabs thrown in for good measure.  


Avalanche Conditions:

While no avalanches were reported from the backcountry yesterday, explosive work in the Cottonwoods did pry out a couple hard slabs 1-3’ deep in upper elevation north facing terrain.  With plenty of snow to blow around, you can expect to find localized soft and hard slabs in the mid and high starting zones, some of which may be buried under a couple inches of snow.  Further complicating things will be the unusual loading patterns from the strong and gusty southwest, west, and northwest winds.  Be suspicious of cross loaded gullies, unsupported slopes, and steep rocky areas.  Remember that hard slabs may allow a person to get way out onto the slope before it pulls out.  It’ll be one of those tricky MODERATE days – use all the tricks up your sleeve if in drifted terrain: drop a few cornices, practice safe slope cuts, jump on some test slopes, and isolate a few columns to see how well things may or may not be welded in.   Lastly, watch for changing conditions with continued wind loading and light snowfall.   


Bottom Line:

The avalanche danger is MODERATE on steep mid and upper elevation wind drifted slopes.  Human triggered avalanches will be possible.


Mountain Weather:

We’ll have a slight break in the weather about midday, but otherwise we’ll have snow showers this morning and again this afternoon.  The winds will be out of the west northwest at 20-30mph with gusty conditions along the high ridges.  8000’ highs will be in the upper teens with 10,000’ temps dropping to near 10 degrees.  High pressure moves in for tomorrow and Tuesday with a promising looking system slated for late Wednesday.  


Other mountain weather information 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.


Announcements and Miscellaneous:


3rd Annual Backcountry Awareness Week Monday Jan 30-Sunday February 5
Fundraising Dinner February 3rd at 6pm with speakers Conrad Anker and Apa Sherpa.  For more info, go to www.backcountryawareness.com or call Snowbird at 922-2147.

The Wasatch Powderbird Guides didn’t get out yesterday, and likely won’t get out today.  For more info, call 742-2800.

Please report any backcountry snow and avalanche conditions.  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 Monday morning.  Thanks for calling.