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.



Saturday, January 28, 2006  7:30am
Good morning, this is Evelyn Lees with the Forest Service Utah Avalanche Center with your backcountry avalanche and mountain weather advisory.  Today is Saturday, January 28, 2006, and it’s about 7:30 am.


          Current Conditions:

This morning is the calm before the storm, and just may be the time to skip the Outdoor Retailer show and catch a few face shots before full storm conditions and a rising avalanche danger arrive by late this afternoon.   Snow totals were about a foot in the Ogden area mountains and in the higher elevations of the Cottonwoods, with 3 to 6” of new on the PC side and at the mid elevations of the Provo area mountains.  Temperatures are currently in the mid teens to single digits, and the winds have shifted back to the southwest, generally in the 10 to 15 mph range, with gusts 25 to 30.  Across the highest peaks, winds are in the 30’s and 40’s, with gusts into the 50’s.  Snowshoeing, turning and riding conditions are good on all aspects, bordering excellent on shady slopes, and low angle slopes are fast and fun. 


Avalanche Conditions:

Yesterday, the new snow was very sensitive through out the range, with soft sluffs and slabs easily triggered on steep slopes of most aspects.  Most slides were less than 20’ wide, but a few were as large as 150’ wide and 18” deep.  Those on southerly facing slopes with a slick underlying ice crust were running especially fast and far.  Only a few of these soft, new snow slides posed any danger to a person, mainly in terrain where a ride would take you through trees or deposit you in a gully bottom. Observations indicate slides were running both within the new snow and more importantly, on faceted snow that exists on many slopes.


Unfortunately, the current avalanche conditions are a very different beast than the stable snow of the last few weeks.  All the ingredients for an active slide cycle are in place, with the complicating factor being the faceted snow.  Though the slides will not be significantly deeper than new snow only activity, slides breaking out on facets have the potential to be wider, can be triggered from a distance, and have the nasty habit of breaking out above you. 


Be alert for a rising avalanche danger throughout the day.  The strengthening winds will increase the danger even before the snow starts to fall, and any fresh wind drifts will be easy to trigger on steep slopes today.  As the danger increases today, seek the safer lower angle, wind sheltered terrain and avoid travel below steep slopes. 

Bottom Line:

Today is a day of rising avalanche danger.  This morning the avalanche danger is moderate, but it will rapidly rise to CONSIDERABLE by this afternoon due to increasing wind and additional snow.  Human triggered avalanches will be probable on many steep slopes, and natural avalanches will be possible.  The danger will continue to rise, and may reach HIGH overnight.


Mountain Weather:

A fast moving Pacific storm system will impact northern Utah this afternoon.  Light snowfall will start north of I-80 around noon, and then spread south.  We should see periods of heavy snow with strong winds by late afternoon or early evening throughout the northern Wasatch.  Today, temperatures will warm into the low 20’s at 8,000’ and upper teens at 10,000’.  Winds will be from the southwest this morning in the 15 to 20 mph range, and gradually increase throughout the day.  By this evening, they will shift to the northwest, and strengthen into the 30 to 35 mph range.  Snowfall amounts should be in the 12 to 18” range by Sunday morning.  An active weather pattern should persist into mid week, with several more disturbances bringing snow to the northern mountains.


  Click here for the National Weather Service graphic Forecast. 



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

You can find our mountain weather forecast 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, call Snowbird at 933-2147.  Visit www.backcountryawareness.com for more details.


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

The Wasatch Powderbird Guides did not fly yesterday, and today they will fly in Mineral, Cardiff, Days, Silver, Grizzly, White Pine 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.

Drew Hardesty will update this advisory by 7:30 Sunday morning.  Thanks for calling.