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


          Current Conditions:

We’re in a bit of a holding pattern, waiting for tonight when the meat of the next Pacific storm rolls through.  Skies are overcast with a few random flakes falling here and there, and temperatures continue their upward march into the low to mid-20’s.  The west and northwest winds averaged 20-35mph with the most exposed anemometers humming along at 40-45mph.  They’ve since calmed somewhat, but should remain in the 15-25mph range until, as the Tappet brothers say, ‘the third half of the show’, when they push back into the strong range.  Backcountry conditions are best on a wide platform but tricky with the wind’s constant hammering.   


Avalanche Conditions:

Many ski area control teams needed a pry bar to dislodge the stubborn new wind drifts yesterday, but found them running fast and far on the old bed surfaces once in motion.   The most interesting control work came from Provo and the Park City areas, as explosives released hard slabs up to 2 ½’ deep and 300’ wide.  I’ve been called a lot of things, but ‘facet conspiracy theorist’ takes the cake.  I’m glad to hear, at least, that I’m being verified.  At least three skier triggered slides pulled out on faceted snow above a suncrust yesterday, with one being triggered at a distance.  The remotely triggered slide pulled out 1-2’ deep and 75’ wide up high in southerly facing Beartrap in BCC.  Cornice drops in the Brighton backcountry and near Bountiful Peak pulled out soft slabs 1’ deep and up to 100’ wide, also running on faceted snow above a suncrust.    Control work on the PC ridgeline at the lower elevations produced full slope collapses on this layer as well.  Brett Kobernik’s outline of the faceted snow problems can be found here. 


Stubborn wind drifts may still be triggered on steep lee slopes at the mid and upper elevations, potentially breaking out a few turns into the slope, or a few dozen feet above you.  For the upper snowpack weaknesses, collapsing will give some indication here as well, as will more dedicated snow-pit tests.  These weak layers have been found on a variety of aspects and elevations and seem patchy in the Cottonwoods and more pronounced in the other outlying areas.  Avalanches failing on these layers may pull out above you or at a distance, and may trigger other slides.  Insult to injury here is that many of them are sitting on a perfect bed surface of old wind and suncrusts.   The bottom line before the bottom line is that conditions will be quite varied and tricky today, and you’ll want to be on your game. 

Bottom Line:

Steep wind drifted slopes at the mid and upper elevations will have a MODERATE danger today.  Human triggered avalanches will be possible while natural or spontaneous avalanches are not expected.   Folks who have been riding “everything that’s white” will want to take a step back now that we have a buried weak layer in the upper portion of the pack.    


Mountain Weather:

We’ll have overcast skies and intermittent snow showers until the storm arrives this evening.  Winds will back to the southwest today and gradually increase to 20-30mph by about dinner time.  8000’ highs will each into the low thirties as 10,000’ temps continue reaching into the mid-to upper twenties.  Snow totals through midday Tuesday look to be about 6-12”, depending on location.  Another windy storm arrives Wednesday with another good shot slated for the weekend.


  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 didn’t get out yesterday and are permitted for AF, the Sessions, and Cascade, with a home run out White Pine today.   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.