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 23, 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 23, 2006, and it’s about 7:30 am.


We will be giving a free Avalanche Awareness talk at the Sandy REI Thursday night at 7pm. 


The Banff Mountain Film Festival last night was sold out, which, I understand, broke the all-time record for attendance at any festival showing so far for the Banff series worldwide.  Congratulations, Salt Lake City.


Current Conditions:

Wind has been the main concern these past couple days.  The strong winds have decreased overnight and they are blowing 15, gusting to 25 along most of the ridges from the northwest and 25, gusting to 40 on the highest elevation peaks.  Ridge top temperatures have warmed 10 degrees from yesterday morning and are 10-15 degrees, headed for a high of around 20 degrees today.  There’s still about a foot of very fine, light density snow but you need to be in wind and sun sheltered slopes today. 

Avalanche Conditions:

Strong winds from the northwest for the past two days have piled much of our super-light, cold-smoke powder into soft wind drifts, mostly at or above tree line, but occasionally down to 7,000’.  Yesterday, skiers were able to easily trigger many of these wind slabs but for the most part, they were quite soft, shallow and manageable.  Skiers in Snake Creek (south of Brighton) were able to kick off six different soft slabs and one person took a short ride on one of them (PHOTO).  Another skier kicked off one off on Cardiff Peak and all of the ski resorts reported localized, sensitive soft slabs.  Most of them are on south through east facing slopes, but they are cross-loaded into many other slopes as well.


Wind slabs look smooth and rounded and often feel “slabby” or “punchy” (hard snow on top with softer snow underneath).  As always, you should avoid all steep slopes with recent deposits of wind drifted snow.  If you feel like you just have to muck around with them, then practice good slope cut techniques (which you can read about on our web site in our avalanche encyclopedia.) or belay yourself with a rope.


Bottom Line:

Today, the avalanche danger is MODERATE on slopes steeper than 35 degrees with recent drifts of wind blown snow.  Out of the wind affected terrain, the avalanche danger is mostly LOW, but long running sluffs are large enough to take you for a ride in the steepest terrain.  Also, today there is a MODERATE danger of damp to wet, loose sluffs as they heat up in the afternoon sun.


Mountain Weather:

Ridge top winds will blow from the northwest at 15-25 mph with ridge top temperatures rising to around 20 degrees.  Down at 8,000’, the temperatures should rise to near 30.   We have mountaintop clouds and light snow showers this morning, but they should burn off later in the day.  Temperatures should continue to warm over the next several days and be near freezing on the ridge tops this weekend.


For the extended forecast, this weekend will be very warm with high clouds and strong southerly winds, which should finish off all our nice snow.  Then, we have a potentially significant storm for Tuesday and Wednesday with strong southwest winds, warm temprature and snow.



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.

Yesterday, Wasatch Powderbird Guides did not fly and if they can get out today they will be in Cardiff, Mineral, Days, Silver, American Fork, the Sessions and possibly in White Pine.  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.