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.

keeping you on top


Thursday, November 02, 2006  10:00 am
This is the Forest Service Utah Avalanche Center.  We are now in the office on a regular basis, and we will be issuing intermittent updates as conditions change.  Our regular daily advisories will begin once we get a few more storms and there is a bit more snow on the ground. 


Special Announcement:

Don’t forget about the annual backcountry gear swap sponsored by the Friends of the Utah Avalanche Center.  It will be at the Salt Lake REI store this Saturday, November 4th.  You can drop off your gear on Thursday or Friday evening and the swap opens at 9:00 am on Saturday morning.


Current Conditions:

Opportunities for turns are very limited at the moment, with the shallow, 10 to 18” snow pack existing only on upper elevation north and easterly facing slopes.  The snow is becoming loose and unsupportable on many slopes, and is capped with breakable wind and sun crusts in some places.  Your best bet for turns without hitting rocks is the snowcatted terrain at the unopened resorts and low angle, smooth, grassy slopes.  Turning can be rather dangerous, so controlling your speed is crucial.


Avalanche Conditions:

The weakening snow pack is mostly stable.  The old wind slabs from last week have mostly settled out, but small areas may crack out directly beneath your boards.  The sugary snow may be more of a concern in the future, so keep a mental map of the current snow cover.  A series of weak weather disturbances will brush northern Utah beginning tonight, with the best chance for a few inches of snow on Sunday.  There is potential for a larger storm around the middle or end of next week.


Bottom Line:

There is a very shallow, weak snowpack on upper elevation northerly and easterly facing slopes.  This limited snowpack is mostly stable, and there is a greater danger of hitting rocks and logs and injuring yourself or damaging your equipment.  The safest turns will be on slopes less steep than about 30 degrees with grass underneath, or on runs that have been packed by snow cats at the resorts.


While the ski resorts are not yet open, they are doing early season snowmaking and trail work, so please obey any closures.  They are not doing any avalanche control, so treat them like backcountry terrain.  As you get ready for your first tour of the season, be sure to put fresh batteries in your beacon and start practicing a few beacon searches.


To find early season weather information, be sure to bookmark the National Weather Service page and you should regularly consult the Snow Page, (Alta Collins station is operating) the Satellite Imagery page (look at infrared Western U.S. 2km).


If there is anything we should know about, continue to let us know by calling (801) 524-5304 or 1-800-662-4140, email [email protected] or fax 801-524-6301