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


Wednesday, November 08, 2006  1:00 pm
This is the Forest Service Utah Avalanche Center.  We are issuing intermittent updates as conditions change, and our regular daily advisories will begin later this month. 


Special Announcement:

Our staff would like to give a big thanks to Colleen Graham and everyone else that organized, volunteered for and attended the Friends annual backcountry gear swap, making it a success.  The next FUAC fundraiser will feature TGR’s latest winter sports film “the Anomaly” aka “Early Bird gets the Worm”.  The fundraiser is on Dec 7th at Brewvies, with two showing, at 7pm and 9 pm, and advanced tickets are available.


Current Conditions:

The current heat wave is just about history.  In the mean time, it’s reduced the ridable snow to a few small areas on upper elevation north and easterly facing slopes.  The best place to find a few turns without hitting too many rocks is the snowcatted terrain at the unopened resorts.  Turning is dangerous at the moment, with lots of hidden obstacles, so controlling your speed is crucial.


Snowpack and Avalanche Conditions:

The good side to the unusually warm weather is that the heat is strengthening the existing snow.  Much of the snowpack is now damp to the ground, though some weak, sugary snow probably remains on highest elevation, shady slopes.  With a small storm on the doorstep, it may become possible to trigger shallow new snow sluffs and soft slabs Thursday, Friday and Saturday, especially in wind affected terrain. Any new snow wind drifts will be most sensitive on upper elevation northerly and easterly facing slopes where there was preexisting snow on the ground. Cracking in the new snow is a sign that you are in a wind drifted area or where the new snow had bonded poorly to the old surface crusts.


Mountain Weather:

There is good news just to the west of us, with three of Pacific weather disturbances lined up to hit northern Utah tonight through Tuesday.  The first cold front will move into northern Utah late tonight, with 3-6” of snow possible by Thursday night at the at 8,000’ level.  Temperatures will be much cooler, dropping into the 20’s tonight, and teens Friday night.  Northwesterly winds will be in the 20 to 30 mph range across the highest ridges.  The second storm should reach the northern Wasatch late Saturday, with about 6 to 9” of snow possible by Sunday morning.  The Monday/Tuesday time period is looking quite windy, and snow is forecast with both the Monday warm front and the Tuesday cold front.


Bottom Line:

Today, the limited snowpack is mostly stable, but making turns comes with a serious potential of hitting rocks or logs, which could result in a season ending injury.  Tomorrow, as the snow adds up, it may become possible to trigger a few new snow sluffs or small shallow soft slabs, especially in wind drifted areas. Remember, the ski resorts are not yet open for the season and are not doing any avalanche control, so treat them like backcountry terrain.  As they do prepare to open over the next weeks, please obey any closures. It is a good habit to put fresh batteries in your beacon each fall, 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