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.



Monday, April 17, 2006  10:00 pm
Good morning, this is Brett Kobernik with the Forest Service Utah Avalanche Center with your backcountry avalanche and mountain weather advisory.  This advisory is valid for Monday, April 17, 2006, but was updated on Monday, April 17 at 10 pm.  We are no longer putting out early morning advisories for the rest of the year.  We’ll put out intermittent updates on the web and Salt Lake City phone line (364-1581) as conditions warrant.  Thanks for all your support and we’ll look for you at the Black Diamond/Friends of the Utah Avalanche Center fundraiser/party in the fall. 


Current Conditions:

A winter storm started affecting the area on Monday which laid down around a foot of medium density snow as of 10 pm Monday night in the upper Cottonwoods.  This storm was fairly cold for this time of the season with mid day temperatures in the mid 20’s and dropping later in the day.  Winds were from the west in the 15 to 20 mph range with a few periods of gusty conditions.


Recent Avalanche Activity & Snowpack Discussion:

While my partners and I were out in Big Cottonwood Canyon during the afternoon on Monday we found around 4 inches of snow had fallen in the morning.  It continued to snow, sometimes heavy until we left at around 6 pm when there was about 8 inches total.  The new snow seemed bonded well to a fairly stout melt freeze crust underneath.  We did not find the new snow to be sensitive.  We did note that there was some graupel falling as we were leaving and also the surface was starting to sluff on steeper slopes.  I received some reports of the new snow being more sensitive in Little Cottonwood with a few minor avalanches triggered from skiers. 


What we will need to watch for on Tuesday is any weakness that may form within the new snow overnight that could be sensitive.  Any wind drifting will accentuate weakness if it is present.  Watch for cracking within the new snow and use test slopes to check for weakness.  Slope cuts should be an effective tool for dealing with this new snow.


Bottom Line:

If the weather forecast does verify and we receive another foot of snow overnight, I would approach any upper elevation steep slopes with caution until they are proven stable.  Watch for clearing and warmer temperatures in the afternoon which could initiate damp snow avalanching.


Mountain Weather:

Lake Affect is the wild card and will dictate Tuesday’s avalanche stability.  Chances for 6 to 12 inches of snow overnight are favorable.  10,000’ foot temperatures will start out in the low 20s but could reach 30 especially in the afternoon with any clearing.  20 mph winds from the northwest will decrease in the morning.  High pressure sets in for the rest of the week.


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.

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.

We will update this advisory as conditions warrant.  Stay tuned.