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.



Tuesday, March 07, 2006 7:30am
Good morning, this is Brett Kobernik with the Forest Service Utah Avalanche Center with your backcountry avalanche and mountain weather advisory. Today is Tuesday, March 07, 2006, and its about 7:30 am.

Current Conditions:

The mountains of northern Utah received a good dose of snow overnight. Totals are around a foot in the Ogden area mountains, 8-10 inches along the Park City ridgeline, over a foot in upper Big Cottonwood, around 8 in upper Little Cottonwood, and around 3-5 inches in the Provo area mountains. Temperatures are decreasing and currently are in the low 20s along the ridges. Ridgetop winds were from the southwest on Monday in the 20-30 mph range late in the day and are now switching to the west northwest with speeds in the low teens with occasional gusts into the 20s. The highest peaks still show gusts into the 40s.


Recent Avalanche Activity & Snowpack Discussion:

There are two distinct patterns that we need to address today. The first is the new snow that fell overnight. Some areas are just finishing up a period of very intense snowfall with rates up to 4 inches an hour of very light density snow. I would expect some natural activity to have occurred out of this period which may be mostly loose snow avalanching. This natural activity will probably be over with by the time most folks get up into the high country but the snowpack will still need a little time to adjust to the new snow load. Most of the avalanches today will involve the new snow. Watch for any cracking which indicates the presence of a slab which is a more dangerous avalanche condition. Use test slopes to tweak on the snow checking for weakness within it, or, at the interface with the old snow. Slope cuts should be an effective tool for dealing with the new snow today.


The second concern is avalanches breaking into older snow. Below about 8500 feet there is a very stout rain crust that will not allow failure below it. Once you get up into the 9000 foot range, things get more complex with various rain and wind crusts, graupel layers and older faceted snow as well. The higher you go, the more likely you are to find a spot where you may trigger an avalanche breaking into older snow especially on the most shaded north aspects. With the addition of the newest snow, the possible size of these slides is getting a bit scary. MORE INFO


Bottom Line:

Most areas have a MODERATE danger especially lower elevations and areas that received less snow. A CONSIDERABLE danger exists on upper elevation slopes steeper then 35 degrees and in areas that received around a foot of snow.


Mountain Weather:

The majority of the snow has fallen and should taper off to showers during the day with a few inches of snow accumulation possible. Ridgetop temperatures will drop into the upper teens and ridgetop winds will be from the northwest in the 10 mph range. Wednesday we should see partly cloudy skies then another good shot of snow is expected on Thursday with more chances through the weekend.



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


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 to check out our new online avalanche encyclopedia.

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 did not get out yesterday and if possible will be in Days, Silver, Grizzly, 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.

Evelyn Lees will update this advisory by 7:30 Wednesday morning. Thanks for calling.