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.



Friday, February 03, 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 Friday, February 03, 2006, and it’s about 7:30 am.


There will be a minor road closure in Big Cottonwood between about 7:50 and 8:30 this morning while they bomb Stairs Gulch if the weather allows. 


There are still a few tickets left for the 3rd Annual Backcountry Awareness Fundraising Dinner tonight at 6pm with speakers Conrad Anker and Apa Sherpa.  This usually sells out so call Snowbird at 933-2147 for tickets.  Visit www.backcountryawareness.com for more details.


Current Conditions:

Gusty winds continue along the ridgelines and temperatures are in the mid teens to mid 20s this morning.  Snow showers continued overnight in the mountains with the Cottonwoods and Park City Ridgeline receiving 2 to 3 inches with less in the Ogden and Provo area mountains. 


Avalanche Conditions:

Sensitive fresh wind drifts in the Cottonwoods were a common theme from Thursday with numerous intentional and unintentional human triggered avalanches.  One person took a short ride on north facing Kessler after a slab broke out 8 to 10 inches deep and 50 feet wide.  He stopped while the slide continued for about 1000 feet vertical distance.  Another skier unintentionally popped out a slide 12” deep by about 50’ wide that ran about 150’ on a south aspect.  One more slide worth mentioning was triggered after a skier kicked a cornice which then released a pocket that started to run down the slope then stepped down into faceted snow from last week.  The initial slide was about a foot deep but broke 1 ˝ to 2 ˝ feet deep and 300 feet wide when it stepped down.  It was on a southeast aspect in upper Bear Trap.  There was not as much activity in the Ogden or Provo mountains.


The slides from yesterday perfectly demonstrate things we need to watch for again today.  Wind drifts that formed yesterday and last night may still be sensitive today.  Also, there is a chance you may find an area where you could trigger an avalanche into deeper layers.  Each slope must be evaluated carefully and all backcountry protocols should be followed strictly.  This means one person at a time on steep slopes and make sure to completely clear all runout zones.

Bottom Line:

Today the avalanche danger is MODERATE on steep wind drifted slopes.  There is also still a MODERATE chance of triggering a slide that breaks into deeper layers in non wind affected terrain.  Remember that a moderate danger means human triggered avalanches are possible.  With clearing skies today the snow may become wet on southerly facing slopes so you will need to pay attention for activity here as well.


Mountain Weather:

We should see partly cloudy skies with ridgetop winds in the 20 mph range from the northwest and ridgetop temperatures will be in the upper teens.  Temperatures warm quite a bit on Saturday and will be near freezing at 10,000 feet.  Ridgetop winds will stay in the 15 to 20 mph range but shift to the southwest.  Another storm moves in late Saturday night and into Sunday bringing a dramatic cold front with a good shot of snow.  12 inches is possible.  High pressure will dominate weather next week.


Click here for the National Weather Service graphic Forecast. 



Click here to check out our new online avalanche encyclopedia.


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.

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 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.

Evelyn Lees will update this advisory by 7:30 Saturday morning.  Thanks for calling.