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, April 01, 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, April 01, 2006, and its about 7:30 am.


Current Conditions:

Last nights quick moving storm system dropped 4 to 6 of snow in the Cottonwoods and on the Park City side, with the Provo and Ogden area mountains receiving about 3 at the 7500 level. Densities were about 9%. Winds have remained from a southerly direction for the past several days, and overnight increased into the 20 to 30 mph range, with gusts in the 40s and 50s at the more exposed locations in the Park City, Ogden and Provo mountains. Wind speeds are lower in Big and Little Cottonwood Canyons. Temperatures are in the low 20s at 10,000 and in the low 30s at 7,500. The new snow fell on a wide variety of old snow surfaces, including breakable sun and wind crusts and dense powder on wind sheltered, shady slopes.


Recent Avalanche Activity & Snowpack Discussion:

Two late morning reports of backcountry avalanche activity included a second hand report that cornice kicking along the Cardiff ridgeline producing a couple slab avalanches on steep, northerly facing slopes, the largest 12 to 16 deep, and 150 wide. Another person was able to easily trigger wind slabs, 35 to 65 wide, 8 to 14 deep, on steep upper elevation wind effected northerly facing slopes in the Claytons and Wolverine areas. Those who carefully avoided wind affected terrain found the pattern of frequent small storms has allowed the new snow to stabilize.


This morning, be alert for and avoid any new and old drifts of wind blown snow. With two days of southerly winds, the drifts will be most widespread on slopes facing the north half of the compass and along the ridgelines. But last nights stronger winds will have also cross loaded snow mid slope in open bowls, at breakovers, along gully walls and sub ridges. This afternoon, the avalanche danger will increase when the cold front arrives. There is potential for a several hours of heavy snowfall, accompanied by moderate westerly winds. So the danger of new snow avalanches could spike this afternoon, when it will become easy to trigger new snow sluffs and soft wind drifts, especially in the wind affected terrain.


Bottom Line:

The avalanche danger is MODERATE this morning on mid and upper elevation slopes steeper than 35 degrees, especially with recent drifts of wind blown snow. The avalanche danger may rise to CONSIDERABLE on steep, wind drifted slopes this afternoon with the arrival of the cold front, especially if youre in an area of heavy snowfall combined with wind. If the sun comes out for any significant period of time this morning, the danger of wet loose sluffs will rise to moderate on steep, sunny slopes.


Mountain Weather:

A cold front will move through the area this afternoon into this evening. This morning, skies will be partly cloudy, with temperatures in the low 30s at 8,000 and the low 20s at 10,000. The southwesterly winds will generally be in the 15 to 25 mph range, with strong gusts across the most exposed peaks and ridgelines. With the arrival of the front, lightning is possible, and snow will be heavy at times, with accumulations of 4 to 8 expected. Winds will shift to the west, and temperatures will cool into the mid teens at 10,000. Snow should end by midnight, with a break in the action on Sunday and Monday. A stronger and colder Pacific storm will impact the state Tuesday and Wednesday.


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 yesterday and if they can get out today will be in Mineral, Cardiff, Days, Silver and White Pine. 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.

Drew Hardesty will update this advisory by 7:30 Sunday morning. Thanks for calling.