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 08, 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 08, 2006, and it’s about 7:30 am. 


Current Conditions:

Under clear skies, temperatures are hovering right around freezing at the 9 and 10,000’ levels this morning.  Winds are from a southerly direction, around 20 mph, with gusts in the 30’s to 50’s at the most exposed locations.  The clear skies produced a good surface refreeze, so most slopes are crusted early this morning, but will rapidly become wet and sloppy with daytime heating.  While there is still some dry snow in the upper elevation, northerly facing terrain, the snow on many slopes was sculpted into a checkerboard of wind drifts during the storm.


Recent Avalanche Activity & Snowpack Discussion:

Yesterday, avalanche control work for the highways and ski resorts was a mixed bag - explosives produced many class 2 and class 3 avalanches, including runs in Stairs, Circle All, Coal Pit and White Pine Chute, but it must also be noted there were many shots in the backcountry with no results.  While explosives and air blasts were the most effective control methods, the snow was also sensitive to ski cuts, especially in the morning.  Heating yesterday resulted in several natural, wet loose sluffs.  Check out the photo galleries by Bob and Bruce. 


For today, I think most of the storm snow instabilities will have settled out and strengthened.   However, the current strong winds are creating a new batch of drifts at the mid and upper elevations that a person could trigger, which could then step down into storm snow for a much deeper slide.  So continue to use caution when approaching any slope of about 35 degrees or steeper.  Cornices are huge and ready to break in some areas, so stay well back from the corniced ridge line edges.


The most widespread problem today will be wet snow activity.  Carefully watch the balance between the sun, thin clouds, wind and temperatures.  The snow will definitely get warm enough for people to trigger wet loose sluffs on steep slopes, including northerly facing slopes.  But if the sun comes out and the winds drop off at the same time, there is the potential for spontaneous wet slides to occur on all aspects.  Any of these wet slides could entrain snow, resulting in big debris piles, and will be most dangerous where confined to gullies and other terrain traps.


Bottom Line:

The avalanche danger today is MODERATE on upper elevation slopes, steeper than about 35 degrees, especially the north and easterly facing slopes and those with fresh drifts of wind blown snow.  The avalanche danger will rapidly rise to MODERATE on all steep slopes with daytime heating, with human triggered wet sluffs possible.  If the sun comes out and the winds decrease at the same time, the danger may rise to considerable for wet, loose slides.


Mountain Weather:

A weak dry storm will bring variable cloudiness to the area today and tonight.  Temperatures will be in the upper 40’s at 8,000’ and in the mid 30’s at 10,000’.  The southerly winds, which are strong across the highest peaks this morning, will gradually decrease this afternoon, to less than 20 mph.  Partly cloudy skies and even warmer Sunday and Sunday night.  Then a stronger cold front will bring snow on Monday, with 5 to 10” possible.  A series of disturbances will continue to affect northern Utah through the rest of the week.


The second annual “Beacon and Eggs” contests are in full swing, with BIG prizes to the winners.  Contests are today, April 8th, at Solitude and on April 15th at Snowbird.  This year there will also be a finals contest at Snowbird on April 22nd.  For more information, go to http://www.snowbird.com/events/events/beaconandeggs.html



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 today if they can fly will be in Cardiff, Days, Silver, White Pine and American Fork.  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.

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