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, April 06, 2006  7:30 am
Good morning, this is Bruce Tremper with the Forest Service Utah Avalanche Center with your backcountry avalanche and mountain weather advisory.  Today is Thursday, April 06, 2006, and it’s about 7:30 am. 


Current Conditions:

After a couple days of crying wolf, the big low pressure system is finally, finally starting to kick in.  Overnight, the Cottonwood Canyons got 4-5 inches of snow, which is a dense 12 percent water at 8,000’ and around 10 percent above 10,000’.  Temperatures have finally dropped to the mid 20’s.  Yesterday morning ranked high in the annals of suffering and misery with soggy, gloppy snow mixed with breakable crust, light rain and gloomy clouds but hey, at least you had the pleasure of dodging lightning bolts along with high winds and squalls of graupel that would sting your face.  Inexplicably, the backcountry seemed deserted.  In the afternoon, about 3-4 inches of dense snow fell at higher elevations with rain below about 8,000’.


Recent Avalanche Activity & Snowpack Discussion:

If an avalanche falls in the mountains and there’s no one there to see it, is it still an avalanche?  Yesterday was a good day to find out because the only people wandering around in the backcountry were paid to be there—and not enough, I might add.  Nevertheless, it appeared that very few avalanches occurred yesterday, just a little cracking of new wind slabs along the exposed ridges (PHOTOS).

Today may be a different story.  We expect 8-12 inches of new snow today with strong winds from the northwest.  This will almost certainly create some widespread, sensitive wind slabs on any steep, wind drifted slope.  The snow will be dense.  The slabs will pack a punch and could easily tangle you up and drag you down the hill.  As always, you should avoid all steep slopes with recent deposits of wind drifted snow.  Down out of the wind, I expect that the new snow will bond fairly well to the pre-existing, wet snow surface, but as always, there may be density inversions within the new snow and you should test for these by jumping on test slopes, doing slope cuts and pulling on blocks that you cut out with your hand.


Bottom Line:

New snow and wind will cause the avalanche danger to rise rapidly today from LOW danger this morning to CONSIDERABLE danger later in the day on any steep slope with recent deposits of wind drifted snow.  There will be a MODERATE danger on non-wind drifted slopes.


Mountain Weather:

As moisture wraps around the top of the low pressure center, we should have snow impact northern Utah from the northwest.  The storm should pile up around 8 inches of new snow today in most areas and as much as a foot in some locations.  The rain-snow line should be around 6,000’.  Ridge top winds will pick up and blow around 30 mph from the northwest with gusts to around 50.  Ridge top temperatures will remain around 20 degrees today and be around 30 degrees down at 8,000’.    Tonight, we should have some lingering snow showers with perhaps 3-4 more inches accumulation and the winds should die down.

Friday, the skies should clear and temperatures will warm up to near freezing, which should give us a round of wet sluffs on Friday.  Then, the weekend looks warm with high clouds and we should have another weaker storm on Monday and Tuesday.


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 fly yesterday and won’t fly today.  For more info, call 742-2800.
Special announcement:

The Wasatch-Cache National Forest is authorizing Wasatch Powderbird Guides to operate within established golden eagle mitigation buffers to aid research biologists collecting data to evaluate the effects of heli-skiing operations on nesting golden eagles in the Tri Canyon Area. This authorization is under permit from the U. S. Fish and Wildlife Service, in cooperation with Utah Division of Wildlife Resources and will be in effect through 30 April 2006.  For further information please contract Steve Scheid at the Salt Lake Ranger District at 801-733-2689.

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 Friday morning.  Thanks for calling.