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.



Wednesday, April 19, 2006  7:30 am
Good afternoon, this is Bruce Tremper with the Forest Service Utah Avalanche Center with your backcountry avalanche and mountain weather advisory.  We are no longer putting out early morning advisories for the rest of the year.  We’ll put out intermittent afternoon 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:

Today was clear and very cold.  This morning I needed a down coat, mittens and a hood on the ridge tops.  But it is spring, after all, and the ridge top temperatures shot up from 4 degrees this morning to the mid 20’s by afternoon.  The temperatures down at 8,000’ rose into the low 40’s.  There is still a foot of soft, dry, cold powder snow on the north facing slopes above about 9,500’, but most of the other slopes have a sun crust ranging from a zipper crust to what we used to call “magazine snow” on the south facing slopes, because you need to tape magazines to your shins to keep the crust from cutting your pants.  By Thursday, I suspect that the south facing slope will have a supportable sun crust and you can still find powder on the upper elevation north facing slopes.  But you better get the powder fast, because it will all be gone after Thursday’s very warm temperatures.


Recent Avalanche Activity & Snowpack Discussion:

We were able to find a few localized wind slabs along the highest ridges this morning, but they are easy to see and avoid.  Today, the cold, east wind kept things cool enough that the sun didn’t create too many wet sluffs on the steep south facing slopes.   For Thursday, our main worry is the wet avalanches.  As we always say around here, snow does not like rapid change and today we subjected the snow to an extremely dramatic temperature rise, especially on the south facing slopes.  The snow surface went from near zero to the mid 40’s in just a few hours.  By Thursday, I suspect that we will see wet sluffs on sun exposed slopes in the heat of the afternoon.  As always get out early and get home early.


Bottom Line:

Get off of, and out from underneath, steep slopes when you start to sink into wet snow, especially in the heat of the afternoon.


Mountain Weather:

Thursday should be very warm with ridge top temperatures starting near freezing and rising to around 40 degrees.  Down at 8,000’ you’ll need your bathing suit with temperatures 50-55 degrees in the heat of the afternoon.  Skies should be clear all day long and ridge top winds will remain light around 5-15 from the northwest.  Then, on Friday we should begin to have high clouds with continued warm temperatures.


For the extended forecast, we should have a few clouds and a slight chance of snow over the weekend with a stronger storm on about Tuesday.



The Wasatch Powder Birds Guides flew today in Cardiff and Days and they will not fly on Thursday.


Click here to check out our new online avalanche encyclopedia.

Click HERE for a text only version of the avalanche advisory.

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 again on Friday afternoon.