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.



Saturday, March 25, 2006  7:30 am
Good morning, this is Evelyn Lees with the Forest Service Utah Avalanche Center with your backcountry avalanche and mountain weather advisory.  Today is Saturday, March 25, 2006, and it’s about 7:30 am. 


Current Conditions:

It is going to be a blustery day in the mountains. A strong, southerly flow is developing ahead of an approaching cold front.  Ridgetop winds are in the 15 to 25 mph range, with several of the highest peaks averaging 30 with gusts to 40.  The winds are forecast to keep increasing throughout the day, reaching “knock-you-off-your-feet” speeds by mid afternoon.  Under partly cloudy skies, 10,000’ temperatures are in the upper 20’s, with low 30’s common at 9,000’.  Challenging and variable would be a polite way to describe the backcountry snow surface conditions.


Recent Avalanche Activity & Snowpack Discussion:

Only a few people were traveling around in the backcountry yesterday, but the observations I did receive were of damp snow activity on the shady northerly facing slopes and at the lower elevations.  Both natural and easily human triggered sluffs and shallow wet slabs up to 60’ wide were reported, some of which were far running.  The warm overnight temperatures will have kept the snow surface warm, and it will still be possible trigger damp loose sluffs today on a variety of steep slopes, including those facing north and at the lower elevations.  These sluffs will be most dangerous in terrain where getting knocked off your feet could take you for a ride off a cliff or push you into a terrain trap such as a gully.


Most of the old snow surface is damp or crusted, but the strong winds will manage to find snow to blow around, creating isolated wind drifts.  Watch out for and avoid these dense drifts on steep slopes.  Some may be hard slabs, which have a tendency to break out above you after you are several turns down the slope.  Cornices could still be sensitive, breaking back further than expected. 


Bottom Line:

The avalanche danger is MODERATE today on slopes steeper than 35 degrees with fresh drifts of wind blown snow and on steep slopes with damp snow where human triggered sluffs are possible. Cornices are sensitive, and may break back further than expected or from a distance. 


Mountain Weather:

An energetic spring cold front will rapidly move across northern Utah this evening, with 6 to 10” of snow possible.  Ahead of the front, there will be increasingly strong southerly winds, with average ridgeline speeds reaching 30 to 40 mph, with gusts over 50 mph common.  50 mph sustained speeds with gusts in the 70’s are likely in the most exposed terrain.  10,000’ temperatures will remain near 30 today, before dropping into the mid teens tonight after frontal passage.  8,000’ highs will be in the mid 40’s.  The dynamic frontal passage may be worth staying awake for tonight, with the possibility of brief heavy snow, strong winds and lightning.  After the front comes through, winds will unfortunately remain strong from the west and northwest through the night.  High pressure with rapidly warming temperatures will build across the area late Sunday into Monday, with another storm impacting the area mid week.


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 Mineral, Cardiff, American Fork and Cascade on Friday and in the unlikely event they get out today, they’ll be in Mineral, Cardiff, Days, White Pine and Mill Creek.  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 Sunday morning.  Thanks for calling.