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 23, 2006  7:30 am
Good morning, this is Brett Kobernik with the Forest Service Utah Avalanche Center with your backcountry avalanche and mountain weather advisory.  Today is Thursday, March 23, 2006, and it’s about 7:30 am. 


Current Conditions:

Warm temperatures on Wednesday made the snow become damp on all aspects up to around 9,000’ or better.  Temperatures overnight dropped back well below freezing and are in the low teens to low 20s.  Ridgetop wind speeds were fairly slow from the west northwest on Wednesday but still transported some snow along the upper elevation ridges.  Currently, winds are from the northwest at less then 10 mph with gusts only to 15 mph at 11,000 feet.


Recent Avalanche Activity & Snowpack Discussion:

Despite fairly warm temperatures and damp snow on Wednesday, wet avalanche activity was minimal.  (PHOTO)  More significant were a number of human triggered soft slab avalanches that happened along the upper ridgelines.  Experienced people recognized suspect areas and were able to purposely release these slabs with slope cuts.  People less experienced could easily have been caught off guard.  These slides were 12 to 18 inches deep, 40 to 50 feet wide and running 400 to 500 feet vertical.  The largest was wider then 50 feet and described as a larger avalanche that you wouldn’t want to get caught in.  At least one skier did go for a ride when he triggered the remaining snow above a previously ski cut avalanche.


For today the main concern will be wet activity as temperatures warm during the day.  With cold overnight temperatures this danger is low this morning but will start to become active late morning into the afternoon.  Stay clear of steep slopes and runout zones when you find yourself in damp, mucky “frosting like” snow.  Stay out of lower elevation terrain traps as the day goes on.


Bottom Line:

The avalanche danger is MODERATE today.  This includes wet activity on all aspects at lower elevations as well as southeast through west facing aspects at higher elevations.  This also includes pockets along the ridges where you might find a lingering cold snow slab avalanche waiting to be triggered on northerly aspects.


Mountain Weather:

Upper elevation moisture will produce high clouds today.  10,000 foot temperatures will warm a bit more then yesterday and be in the upper 20s to near 30 and will reach around 40 degrees at 8,000 feet.  Ridgetop winds will be from the northwest in the 5 to 10 mph range.  High pressure with warmer temperatures will continue Friday and Saturday with a storm system affecting the area late Saturday to early Sunday which currently looks like it could produce 4 to 8 inches of snow.

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.

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 flew in Cardiff, Days, and American Fork on Wednesday and today they’ll be in Mineral, Cardiff, Days, Silver, American Fork 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.

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