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.



Monday, February 27, 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 Monday, February 27, 2006, and it’s about 7:30 am.


There are several free automated avalanche beacon practice areas open, including one at Canyons, one on the by-pass road near Snowbird and one in the northwest corner of the lower lot at Solitude.  They are really easy to use, and well worth stopping for a quick practice session.


Current Conditions:

The southwesterly winds ramped up overnight averaging 25-35mph with gusts into the 60’s.  They’ve calmed down enough this morning, but only to catch its breath before they roar back late afternoon with speeds into the 40’s.  Overnight lows were in the upper twenties to low thirties, with a poor if any refreeze at the mid and low elevations.  These are the riding conditions that only the great Russian novelists could love.


Avalanche Conditions:

Yesterday’s stronger southerly winds were responsible for one skier triggered release in mid-White Pine canyon on a steep northeast facing rollover down off the ridgeline.  It was about 6-10” deep and up to 75’ wide.  Last night’s stronger winds will produce more of the same, drifting whatever loose snow it can scrape into pockety soft and hard slabs.  Mid-elevations suffered too, so wind damage and drifting may provide the unsuspecting traveler something to trigger or trip over.  Some may be stubborn and difficult to trigger, with some sitting on the weak surface snow formed over the past week, resulting in less-than-manageable avalanche conditions. 


The second problem for today stems from the poor overnight refreeze.  Mitigating factors are the strong convective winds and long wave radiational cooling, but expect earlier and more intense melting with today’s heat and sun.  Pinwheels and rollerballs will be clues you’ve outstayed your welcome – take a hint and move to a different aspect or head to the car. Glide avalanches in upper Broad’s, Stairs and Mill B may be possible today.


The old snow surface will be, as always, critical in assessing the new avalanche problems with the mid-week storm.  Let’s hope that this and this, will have decayed or been destroyed from the warm temps and strong winds. 


Bottom Line:

Today, the avalanche danger is MODERATE on any slope steeper than 35 degrees with recent deposits of wind drifted snow.    It’s probably not the day to hit your favorite Chuting Gallery line.  The avalanche danger of wet avalanches will increase to MODERATE on and below steep, sun exposed slopes with daytime heating.


Mountain Weather:

Still warm and windy.  8000’ highs will peak into the low 50’s while 10,000’ temps reach 40 degrees.  Winds will be southwesterly blowing 20mph before ramping up this afternoon into the 40mph range.  Stronger winds are forecasted for tonight and tomorrow ahead of Tuesday night’s storm.  We’re looking at 6-10” in favored locations followed by another storm 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.

The Wasatch Powderbird Guides didn’t get out yesterday, and if they fly today will be in American Fork, the Sessions, and Cascade.  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 Tuesday morning.  Thanks for calling.