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.

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Monday, November 13, 2006  7:30 am
Good morning, this is Brett Kobernik with the Forest Service Utah Avalanche Center.  Today is Monday, November 13th and it’s 7:30 in the morning.  We will be issuing daily updates at varying times throughout this storm cycle.  Our regular daily advisories will begin later this month. 


Special Announcement:

Remember, the ski areas are not open, not doing control work, and must be treated as backcountry terrain.  The Alta ski area will close to uphill traffic starting Tuesday morning in preparation for opening.   Remember, your favorite slopes that usually have moguls could easily avalanche.


Current Conditions:

The winds picked up to near 50 mph already at 10,000 feet and near 70 mph at 11,000 feet.  Temperatures are mild in the upper 20s at the lower elevations but in the mid teens at 11,000 feet.  Skies are cloudy and snow is falling.

Snowpack and Avalanche Conditions:

It was a busy day in Little Cottonwood Canyon on Sunday with many people experiencing “fresh snow fever” and, consequently, there were some human triggered avalanches.  There was also evidence of natural avalanche activity that occurred during Saturday’s warm wind event as well as during the last snow storm Saturday night (Observations).  These avalanches fall into a few different categories.  Some were initiated from warm temperatures on Saturday, some were fresh wind loads during the storm and some broke into older faceted snow that became overloaded from new snow and wind transport.  The latter is the type we should keep in mind over the next few days as this faceted or “sugary” snow is a more persistent weakness.  (More Observations)


For today, the first thing that you should look for is any fresh wind drifting especially with the addition of any new snow.  When the wind blows snow into drifts, these always have the potential to be sensitive to the weight of a person.  Watch for “pillowy” snow features as well as any cracking in the snow.


Next we should keep in mind that there are places that have weak, faceted snow near the ground.  These areas are generally above around 10,000 feet and on northwest through northeast facing slopes.  The additional snow and wind expected today may enhance this problem.  Lower elevations as well as East and West facing slopes have less of this problem as last weeks warm temperatures changed the faceted snow and also produced a stout melt freeze crust in these areas.

Bottom Line:

The avalanche danger is MODERATE on any slope steeper than about 35 degrees with fresh drifts of wind blown snow.  There is also a MODERATE danger of triggering avalanches down into older, deeper layers above about 10,000’ on northwest, north, and northeast facing slopes steeper than about 35 degrees.  The avalanche danger will be on the rise today and tonight and may reach CONSIDERABLE



Mountain Weather:

A storm will impact the area today through early Tuesday.  Strong winds will blow from the south west with gusts between 70 and 90 mph.  Ridgetop temperatures should be in the mid to upper 20s then dropping into the mid teens tonight.  An impulse should produce a good shot of snow this morning then taper off.  Snow showers are likely through the day and into the evening.  Heavier precipitation should kick in late tonight with the arrival of a cold front.  12 to 18 inches of total snow is possible. 


Mild weather is forecast for the remainder of the weak aside from a minor disturbance that may affect the area Thursday.



Our staff would like to give a big thanks to Colleen Graham, Paul Digel and everyone else that organized, volunteered for and attended the Friends annual backcountry gear swap, making it a success.  The next two FUAC fundraisers will be at Brewvies.  Schralptown” by Thrilhead Creations is playing tonight through November 16th, and “the Anomaly” by TGR is playing on Dec 7th.


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


Finally, remember that this avalanche bulletin describes general conditions and that local variations always occur.  Be sure to take a reputable avalanche class and learn to judge local conditions as you travel.