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.



Thursday, February 02, 2006  7:30am
Good morning, this is Bruce Tremper with the Forest Service Utah Avalanche Center with your backcountry avalanche and mountain weather advisory.  Today is Thursday, February 02, 2006, and it’s about 7:30 am.


UDOT will do avalanche control in Little Cottonwood Canyon this morning and in Provo Canyon by about mid day.  Ice climbers should avoid Provo Canyon today.  Call 801-975-4838 for updates.


There’s still a few tickets left for the 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.


Current Conditions:

Our Seattle weather continued overnight with another 7 inches at upper elevations of the Cottonwood Canyons and once again, the snow was dense, around 13 percent.  This makes for over an inch and a half of water weight in the past 24 hours.  Yesterday’s riding conditions continued to be punchy, slabby, upside-down snow but at least the visibility was poor, it was windy and the rime stuck to your goggles.  So not a lot of people got out and—just like me—those that did came home early to dry out.


Avalanche Conditions:

Yesterday, avalanche control work produced just a few sensitive, soft, wind slabs on steep, wind loaded slopes but down out of the wind, the snow seemed to plaster in place fairly well.  One person in Days Fork kicked off a wind slab 20’ wide and 1.5’ deep and dug into the bed surface to keep him from going down.  It was a very wind loaded, 40 degree, north facing slope.  They recognized it was wind loaded but they were trying to get around it.  We also found that the snow cracked easily on wind drifted slopes and we were careful to avoid steep, wind drifted terrain (PHOTO).  With continued heavy snow today and continued 20-30 mph ridge top winds from the northwest, you can expect to find some sensitive soft slab avalanches on steep, wind loaded terrain.  When it starts snowing harder this afternoon, check how well the new snow bonds to the underling snow as it comes down.  Also, with all this weight added over the past week, we always have to suspect deeper avalanches breaking down into deeper weak layers.  Although the deeper snowpack is quite solid in the Tri Canyons, it’s shallower and weaker in Ogden, Provo and the Uinta Mountains.  This new snow may reactivate some lingering, deeply-buried layers of faceted snow in those areas.

Bottom Line:

The avalanche danger is CONSIDERABLE this morning on steep, wind drifted slopes and MODERATE on non-wind drifted slopes.  With additional snow and wind this afternoon the danger may rise to CONSIDERABLE even on non wind-drifted slopes as well.


Mountain Weather:

The northwest flow will cool and destabilize throughout the day, so we expect heavy snow especially mid day through afternoon, which could pile up as much as a foot of snow by this evening and perhaps 6 more inches overnight.  Ridge top temperatures will cool to the mid teens by afternoon with ridge top winds 20 with gusts to 30 mph from the northwest.  Down at 8,000’ temperatures will be in the mid 20’s.


We should have lingering clouds on Friday but not much snow.  By Saturday, ridge top temperatures will rise dramatically to near freezing and we will have to watch for wet avalanche activity within the new snow.  Then, we have another quick-hitting cold front for Saturday night, which should give us another 8 inches of snow.


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.


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

To have this advisory automatically e-mailed to you each day, click HERE. 

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 they will not get out again 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 Friday morning.  Thanks for calling.