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.



Tuesday, January 24, 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 Tuesday, January 24, 2006, and it’s about 7:30 am.


          Current Conditions:

A period of unexpected strong winds headlines the news from yesterday.  Ridgetop winds blew in the 20 to 30 mph range from the northeast with gusts into the 50s easily transporting loose snow into sensitive drifts.  They have slowed and should continue to do so for the rest of the day today.  Temperatures above about 8,000’ are on the rise and are into the mid to upper 20s while lower elevations are in the teens.


Avalanche Conditions:

The loose snow on the surface was easily transported into sensitive drifts on Monday.  One skier took an unexpected ride on a steep south facing slope after triggering one of these drifts.  He was carried about 40 feet before he was able to stop as the 12 to 18 inch deep avalanche continued on another 400 feet or so.  Another skier seeing an opportunity to test a fresh drift took it and produced a SLIDE 8 to 12 inches deep on a south facing slope off of the Superior ridge.  This slide then sympathetically released another soft slab on an adjacent slope.  These ran 400 to 600 vertical feet.  There were also a few more unconfirmed reports of other skiers triggering fresh wind slabs around the Cottonwoods.  (Click here for more details on current wind slabs)


Excellent stability and snow conditions have provided a period where we can venture into the more serious terrain without too much worry.  However, yesterday’s winds may have ended this period as these upper elevation drifts may still be sensitive today.  Remember that if you are heading into some of the more serious terrain today, you will more then likely be in terrain that will have these fresh wind slabs.  The problem is not so much the chance of burial but the consequences of getting raked over rocks, cliffs or through trees.

Bottom Line:

The avalanche danger is MODERATE on steep upper elevation terrain with fresh deposits of wind drifted snow.  Southerly slopes are the most suspect but watch for any cross loading on other aspects as well since mountainous terrain can channel winds in unexpected directions.  Clear skies and warm temperatures could cause some heat related activity on Southerly facing slopes as well.  The avalanche danger remains mostly LOW at mid and lower elevations.


Mountain Weather:

Today we’ll see mostly clear skies with ridgetop temperatures into the mid 30s and ridgetop winds in the 10 mph range from the east.  A closed low pressure system will feed some moisture up from the south Wednesday afternoon with a slight chance for a snow shower. 

The better chance for measurable snow starts late Thursday with a few systems through the weekend.



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 Lambs Canyon.  Today, they’ll hit Cardiff, Days, Silver, Mineral, Grizzly, AF, the Sessions, and Lambs Canyon.  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 Wednesday morning.  Thanks for calling.