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.



Wednesday, February 15, 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 Wednesday, February 15, 2006, and it’s about 7:30 am.


A long time fundraiser 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:

A cold upper level trough is slowly settling southward into the Great Basin.  The trough stalled over northern Utah last night, and the Ogden and Logan area mountains received 6 to 10” of low density snow as of 6 am, with just a trace to the south.  Strong southwesterly winds are raking the ridgelines, with many stations reporting 25 to 35 mph averages.  Average speeds at the more exposed locations are 35 to 45 mph, with gusts in the 60’s and 70’s. 


Avalanche Conditions:

South of I-80, it will be a day of increasing avalanche danger with snow and wind in the forecast.  North of I-80, the avalanche danger is Considerable, and backcountry travelers need to be conservative.


The strong overnight winds have produced another batch of pockety hard wind drifts sitting on weak, sugary snow.  While strongest across the highest ridges, the winds have also been significant at both the mid and lower elevations, so the new wind drifts will be more wide spread this morning, both along the ridgelines and down in open bowls, around sub ridges, and at breakovers.  The stubborn hard slabs tend to break above you, and will soon be hidden beneath new snow.  In addition, as the snow piles up in your area, new soft wind drifts will form and be sensitive on steep slopes.    


The new snow is landing on a variety of old snow surfaces – east, south and west facing slopes are a mix of rough and smooth hard crusts and wind slabs, while there are widespread areas of weak surface facets in addition to wind slabs on the shady, northerly facing slopes.  The new snow will bond poorly to most of these old snow surfaces.  Of most concern are the shady slopes, where it may become possible to trigger slides from a distance later today or tomorrow.  So be very careful of what slope you are connected to, and avoid travel below and adjacent to steep slopes as the snow piles up. 


Bottom Line Salt Lake, Park City and Provo area mountains:

Today will be a day of rising avalanche danger.  The avalanche danger is MODERATE this morning on steep slopes with fresh or old drifts of wind blown snow.  As the snow accumulates this afternoon, the danger will become MODERATE on all slopes steeper than about 35 degrees.   


Bottom Line Ogden area mountains:

The avalanche danger is CONSIDERABLE on steep slopes with recent drifts of wind blown snow.  Natural avalanches are possible and human triggered avalanche probable.  Other steep slopes have a MODERATE danger. 


Mountain Weather:

The mid level trough that has been stalled over northern Utah will slowly sag southward today, reaching the Cottonwoods by late morning or early afternoon.  The accompanying band of heavy snow should drop 5 to 8” of snow today.  The southwesterly winds will remain strong this morning, before shifting to the northwest and decreasing into the 20 to 25 mph range this afternoon.  Temperatures will decrease throughout the day, dropping into the low teens at 8,000’ and to near zero at 10,000’.  A cold, moist northwest flow will continue through the night, with an additional 8 to 12” possible in the Cottonwoods, and 3 to 6” else where.  A cold, moist unsettled flow will remain in place through the weekend, with periods of snow likely.   



Click here to check out our new online avalanche encyclopedia.


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

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 flew in White Pine and Snake Creek yesterday, and weather permitting, they will fly in Cardiff, Silver, Days, Mineral, 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.

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