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 16, 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 Thursday, February 16, 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:

Yesterday’s cold front swept south through the area, leaving an unstable northwest flow behind it.  Snow continued overnight, but I am sorry to report that you may have more snow in your driveway than up in the mountains.  While snow totals easily topped a foot in the Ogden mountains, with a bit less in Little Cottonwood, many locations in Big Cottonwood, Park City and the Provo area mountains have storm totals of around 6” this morning.  The northwesterly winds have been reasonably well behaved, averaging 10 to 15 mph with gusts to 20 at most stations.  But of course, speeds across the highest peaks have been stronger, in the 20 to 25 mph range, with gusts in the 30’s.  Toe numbing temperatures are below zero this morning.  The light, 5 to 8% density snow, will let you feel the old crusts and tracks, especially in areas that received the lower snow amounts.  Best turns will be on shady slopes where there is soft snow beneath the new.


Avalanche Conditions:

Wind will be the key to avalanche activity today.  The light new snow did fall on a weak layer, especailly on the shady slopes, but in most areas the new snow has not formed much of a cohesive slab.  However, along the highest ridges, the winds have been just strong enough to drift the snow into a slab that will be sensitive, especially in areas that received a foot or more of new snow.  There are also reports of some wind drifts at the mid and lower elevations, too.  Drifts on the shady slopes are sitting on weak faceted snow, so it may be possible to trigger slides from a distance in a few places. Out of the wind affected terrain, be prepared for loose sluffs on steep slopes


Also, hidden beneath the new snow are the old, hard wind drifts sitting on weak, sugary snow.  There may be a few places where you could still trigger one of these stubborn, hard drifts, and they may break out above you.


Bottom Line:

The avalanche danger is CONSIDERABLE on slopes steeper than about 35 degrees with recent drifts of wind blown snow.  This is just a small portion of the terrain, and drifts will be most widespread along the higher ridgelines, with only occasional drifts at the mid and low elevations.  Other slopes steeper than about 35 degrees have a MODERATE danger, with human triggered sluffs and a few soft slabs possible. 


Mountain Weather:

A moist flow over the area will produce light snow in the mountains this morning, with another 3 to 5” possible.  The winds will shift to the west by midday, and then southwest, and are forecast to decrease.  Temperatures will remain very cold, warming into the single digits along the ridgelines, and to near 10 at 8,000’.  A high pressure ridge will briefly move in over the area tonight and Friday before another cold, Pacific storm arrives for the weekend.



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 didn’t fly yesterday, and if they can fly today, they will be in Cardiff, Silver, Days, Mineral, Grizzly 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.

Brett Kobernik will update this advisory by 7:30 Friday morning.  Thanks for calling.