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.



Friday, January 13, 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 Friday, January 13, 2006, and it’s about 7:30 am.

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Current Conditions:
Ridgetop temperatures are on their way up from overnight lows in the single digits and are now around 20 degrees.  Ridgetop winds calmed down over the last 12 hrs and are in the 10 mph range from the west.  The current snow surface is settled powder with some wind affected areas along the ridgelines.  Some southerly facing slopes will have a melt freeze crust.

Avalanche Conditions:
I received a gazillion observations from the Tri Canyons this morning with almost everyone of them reporting skier triggered soft slab avalanches.  (Click here for photos)  The equation for this was quite simple:  10 inches of fresh snow plus significant winds yield sensitive wind slabs.  A few of these avalanches were large enough that you wouldn’t want to get caught by them but most of them were a manageable size with slope cuts being quite effective.

Today, you may still be able to find a wind slab that might pop out with the weight of a person.  Continue to watch for pillowy drifts and perform slope cuts before diving in. 

A second consideration for today will be warming temperatures.  Many of the southerly facing slopes did not heat up yesterday but higher temperatures today will change that.  Be on the lookout for damp snow with rollerballs and pinwheeling which suggest the snow is changing and may become unstable.

Bottom Line: (Salt Lake, Park City and Provo mountains)

Today the avalanche danger is generally LOW however a MODERATE danger does exist in steep upper elevation terrain with recent deposits of wind drifted snow.  You will most likely find these on northeast through southeast facing slopes.  Also, with climbing temperatures, there will be a MODERATE danger of wet avalanches on southeast through southwest facing slopes.


Mountain Weather:

For today we’ll see mostly clear skies with ridgetop temperatures climbing into the 30s by this afternoon.  Ridgetop winds will start out in the 10 mph range from the southwest and gradually increase into the 20s by around dark.  On Saturday temperatures will start to cool somewhat and ridgetop winds will increase into the 30 mph range from the southwest.  A storm will start to affect the area Saturday night with a cold front moving through and a good chance for snow through Sunday.


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.

Click HERE for a text only version of the avalanche advisory.

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, The Emma’s and Grizzly yesterday, and today they will be in Cardiff, Days, Silver, and Grizzly and American Fork.  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 Friday morning.  Thanks for calling.