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.



Sunday, February 12, 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 Sunday, February 12, 2006, and it’s about 7:30 am.


As a benefit for the Utah Avalanche Center, the Banff Mountain Film Festival is coming back to town February 21st and 22nd at Kingsbury Hall.  Tickets will be available at Kingsbury Hall, Art-Tix, the Outdoor Rec Program at the U and REI.  For more info, call 581-8516.


Current Conditions:

High pressure’s on its last leg and most of us in the field are looking forward to the ‘regime change’ in the weather pattern this week.  Skies are clear, winds are mostly light from the northwest and mountain temps are in the upper teens in the upper elevations with cooler temps pooling down low.  Backcountry snow surface conditions range from quasi-supportable corn on the steep sunny aspects with interspersed wind board and recrystallized powder on the north.


Avalanche Conditions:

Imagine a graph with one line tracing the extent, structure, and sensitivity of our hard wind slabs and the other line tracing the unbelievable geographical extent of terrain that people have been getting into the last few days.  The lines finally crossed yesterday with three skier triggered releases in very steep, very exposed upper elevation northerly facing terrain.  The third skier on a northeast facing chute off the summit of Box Elder tumbled nearly 2000’ after triggering a 1-2’ deep by 200’ wide hard slab and miraculously survived without any major injuries.  In upper Little Cottonwood, four skiers traversing high under Little Superior were caught and carried, and partially buried after triggering a 1’ deep and 40’ wide hard slab, while further down canyon, a skier triggered, but was not caught in, an 8” deep by 40’ wide hard slab off the Tanner’s Notch down into upper Broad’s Fork. 


These problems are not and will not be widespread in nature, but confined to the highest, most exposed terrain.  All were hard slabs from periods of strong northwesterly winds (photo from Box Elder on Friday) along the highest elevations on Thursday, Friday, and Saturday sitting on faceted snow formed during the past week of high pressure.  Warming temperatures after Friday’s dry cold front may have been a contributing factor as well.  All parties had experienced individuals and would complement the Box Elder team for ski cutting and traveling one at a time.


Bottom Line:

The avalanche danger remains generally LOW today.  Isolated pockets of stubborn, yet triggereable hard wind drifts exist in steep, exposed, upper elevation terrain.  As the day heats up, it may be possible to trigger small wet sluffs on steep, sunny slopes.


Mountain Weather:

We’ll have mostly sunny skies with light northwesterly winds.  8000’ highs will reach toward 40 degrees with 10,000’ temps rising to near 30.  A system passing by to the northeast will bump cloud cover and winds tonight, but it’s simply a prelude to the storminess expected by about mid-week. 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.

Wasatch Powderbird Guides didn’t get out yesterday, but will have one ship in AF and White Pine and another in the Sessions.  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.

I will update this advisory by 7:30 Monday morning.  Thanks for calling.