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.



Monday, January 23, 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 Monday, January 23, 2006, and it’s about 7:30 am.


          Current Conditions:

Skies are clear and conditions in the backcountry continue to be phenomenal.  Under these stable weather conditions, mountain temperatures have started to become inverted with cool air pooling into the drainages and mountain basins.  Lower elevation temperatures this morning are flirting below zero while higher elevations have comparatively balmy temps in the upper single digits.   The northwest winds along the most exposed ridgelines picked up overnight to average 25mph with gusts to 35, to which terrain below 11,000’ is oblivious.   Snow surfaces are now crusted on many mid and low elevation, south through west facing slopes, but remain excellent on the other aspects. 


Avalanche Conditions:

While the snowpack remains mostly stable, a couple of relatively minor problems have surfaced in the past 12-24 hours.  First, those traveling along the highest elevations may see some soft slab development just off the lee ridgelines.  They should be soft and manageable and less than a foot or so deep and be reactive to a good slope cut.  Sluffing of the surface snow, too, will become more likely on the steep, shady slopes today and tomorrow.  It’s a double edged sword.  Under these weather conditions, the diurnal recrystallization of the surface snow makes for continued excellent riding conditions, but forms weak, cohesionless sugar snow which can sluff more easily now and make for a good weak layer later when buried under the next storm.  Lastly, watch for increased wet activity on the sun-exposed slopes during the heat of the day.

Bottom Line:

The avalanche danger is mostly LOW.  Both dry and wet sluff avalanches will start to become a bit more of a problem on the steepest slopes.  An isolated MODERATE danger of new wind drifts exists on steep upper elevation southwest through east facing slopes.


Mountain Weather:

We’ll have clear skies, and light to moderate northerly winds today.  8000’ highs will reach into the low thirties while 10,000’ temps continue their upward march into the low twenties.  The ridge will build through at least Wednesday with a couple of storms possible for the weekend.   Model confidence for these storms is not high.



Early birds and snow geeks can catch our 6AM report at 364-1591.

Our mountain weather forecast can be found here by about noon each day.


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.


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

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 Big and Little Cottonwood canyons, which is updated as needed. 801-975-4838.

Yesterday the Wasatch Powderbird Guides flew in American Fork and White Pine.  Today, they’ll hit AF, the Sessions, Lambs, and White Pine.  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.

Brett Kobernik will update this advisory by 7:30 Tuesday morning.  Thanks for calling.