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 11, 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 11, 2006, and it’s about 7:30 am.

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Current Conditions:

Ridge top winds have been blowing hard all night from the west-southwest around 20-30 and gusting to 40 and 50.  It’s also warm with ridge top temperatures 25-30 degrees.  Our next storm has just arrived and snow started falling early this morning with 3 inches in the Logan mountains and only an inch accumulated so far in the Salt Lake mountains.  Most of the snow from the storm should arrive tonight.  The snow surface conditions yesterday included 6-10 inches of soft powder on the wind and sun sheltered slopes that made for some nice riding and there was a sun crust on the sun exposed slopes.  Yesterday’s southwest winds created some localized wind slabs mostly along the upper elevation, wind-exposed slopes.


Avalanche Conditions:

Yesterday, a skier triggered and was caught in a soft, wind slab on a steep, northeast-facing slope on Tuscarora Peak (between Alta and Brighton).  It was 1.5-2’ deep and he rode it 100 feet before self-arresting into the bed surface.  He lost skis but is otherwise OK.  Also, yesterday, in the heat of the day a glide avalanche released naturally off the steep rock slabs in Broad’s Fork about 2’ deep and 50’ wide. Today will be one of those days with rapidly rising avalanche danger.  Wind will probably be the biggest problem today with the addition of new snow the biggest problem overnight and on Thursday.  Strong winds from the west-southwest will certainly create some both soft and hard wind slabs especially in upper elevation wind exposed terrain.  As usual, you should avoid any steep slope with recent wind drifts.  They will look smooth and rounded and often feel slabby or sound hollow.  The second avalanche problem will be from the new snow that will pile up quickly later this afternoon and tonight.  You should regularly test how well the new snow is bonding to the underlying snow by jumping on test slopes and digging down with your hand. 


Bottom Line:

The avalanche danger is MODERATE this morning on steep slopes with recent deposits of wind drifted snow and I expect the avalanche danger to rise to CONSIDERABLE by tonight and on Thursday with the addition of about a foot of new snow with strong winds


Mountain Weather:

The first piece of the storm is arriving this morning with strong winds from the southwest and perhaps three inches of snow.  Then, we may get a break in the middle of the day before the main cold front arrives later this afternoon and tonight.  We should have heavy snow and strong winds overnight—40 gusting to 60—as the cold front passes. Ridge top winds should die down to round 20 mph on Thursday morning.  Snow should end by about mid morning on Thursday.  New snow should add up to around a foot in most parts of the Wasatch Range by mid day on Thursday.  Ridge top temperatures are around freezing this morning but should cool to 25 degrees by evening and down to 12 degrees by Thursday morning.


For the extended forecast, we have another storm for about Sunday and Monday, which looks like most of the energy going south with less strong ridge top winds.


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 933-2147.

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.

The Wasatch Powderbird Guides were in Cardiff, Days, Silver, Grizzly and American Fork yesterday and they will not fly today because of weather.  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.

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