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, March 02, 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, March 02, 2006, and it’s about 7:30 am.

Current Conditions:

Yesterday, people were finding 3-6 inches of fast-riding, dense graupel on Styrofoam above about 9,500’, dust on crust between 9,500’ and 8,500’ and dust on breakable mush below 8,500’.  The sun cooked down the south facing slopes and put a good crust on other sun-exposed aspects. 


Recent Avalanche Activity:

Our intrepid Brett Kobernik posted a great story with photos on our web site about he and his partner’s misadventures with an avalanche in Mill B South yesterday in which one person took a short ride.  It was a wind slab, which ran on a weak layer of faceted snow formed by the clear weather before this past storm and further overloaded by a pool of graupel coming off the cliffs above.  A couple other people reported large collapses on this same layer on a couple other high elevation slopes yesterday as well. 

Also, yesterday there was the usual round of wet sluffs and occasional wet slabs on lower elevation slopes and south facing slopes.  Avalanche control on the Park City side of the range produced a couple wet slabs going to 3’ deep to the ground with strong air blasts on steep slopes around 8,300’.


Avalanche Problem #1 -  Wind Slabs

Today, you can find a few more of these lingering wind slabs sitting on top of a weak layer of faceted snow, which formed during the clear weather in late February.  You will find them mostly above about 10.000’ on shady slopes and also where graupel has slid off of cliff and pooled on less steep terrain below.

Avalanche Problem #2 – Wet Avalanches
As the sun heats things up today, you can expect continued wet sluffs on steep, sun exposed slopes when they get soggy, especially near rock outcroppings.  There may be some continued potential for deeper wet slabs at elevations below about 8,500’.  As always, you should get off of and out from underneath slopes when you’re sinking into wet snow.


Bottom Line:

The avalanche danger is MODERATE on slopes with recent deposits of wind drifted snow and on graupel pools beneath cliffs.  There is also a MODERATE avalanche danger for wet loose sluffs and occasional wet slabs on any steep slope that gets wet and soggy, especially in the heat of the afternoon.  You will find these mostly on south facing slopes and on all slopes below about 8,500’.


Mountain Weather:

Today should be another beautiful, sunny day with ridge top temperatures near freezing and 8,000’ temperatures around 40.  The ridge top winds will start to blow stronger from the south by this afternoon.  On Friday, we will have strong southerly ridge top winds with clouds, which should pick up to 40, gusting to 60 on the exposed ridge tops by afternoon.

We will have a quick-hitting cold front on Friday night and Saturday, which should give us just a few inches of snow, but hey, at least it will be windy.  Then, we have a rest day on Sunday with a much stronger storm for Tuesday through Thursday.



Here is a great link to a web site on avalanche beacon information, created by a person who did independent research and testing of avalanche beacons.   http://beaconreviews.com/transceivers/index.htm


Click here to check out our new online avalanche encyclopedia.


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.


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 will fly two ships today in the Tri Canyon Area, in Mineral, Cardiff, Days, Silver, White Pine, Mill Creek 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 Kobrnik will update this advisory by 7:30 Friday morning.  Thanks for calling.