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


Saturday, December 09, 2006 7:30 am
Good morning, this is Evelyn Lees with the Forest Service Utah Avalanche Center with your backcountry avalanche and mountain weather advisory. Today is Saturday, December 09, 2006 and its 7:30 in the morning.


Current Conditions:

The strong ridge that has dominated our weather is finally moving to the east today, and a very weak disturbance has brought partly cloudy skies to the area. The southerly winds have increased along the ridges into the 20 to 25 mph range with gusts into the 30s. The highest peaks have gusts in the 40s and 50s. The temperature inversion is disappearing in the mountains, with the higher elevations in the 20s, and the 8,000 terrain in the 30s. There are good riding conditions in loud powder and surface hoar on untracked slopes, but the sugary snowpack is becoming unsupportable in shallow areas and around rocks.


Snowpack and Avalanche Conditions:

The stronger winds will find some snow to move around today, so expect a few new shallow wind drifts or wind crusts along the higher ridgelines and around terrain features. Sluffing is continuing on the steep, shady slopes, and may be more pronounced today in the wind drifted areas.


In the deeper snowpack areas there is a stronger, mid pack slab, but where the pack is shallow, its almost fun to revel in the wide variety of faceted snow (click PLAY on the diagram for a cool demo). Stick your ski pole handle in, do a hand pit nothing but loose, rotting snow as deep as the shovel can dig. Were particularly focused on the surface snow, where the surface hoar and near surface facets will probably be the first weak layer to fail with new snow. With snow in the forecast, the avalanche danger will rise during the next few days, and more conservative travel and route finding will become important.


Bottom Line:

The avalanche danger is mostly LOW, and there are only a few isolated places where a person could trigger a slide today. Look for and avoid any new or old wind drifts, and be prepared for sluffing on steep, shady slopes and in some wind drifted areas.


Mountain Weather:

A series of progressively stronger Pacific weather disturbances will cross northern Utah today through midweek. Clouds will increase today, with a slight chance of a few snow showers this afternoon. The southwesterly winds will remain in the 15 to 25 mph range, with stronger speeds across the highest ridgelines. Temperatures will reach the upper 30s at 8,000 and mid 20s at 10,000. A splitting system will bring light snow tomorrow through tomorrow night, with snowfall totals of 4 to 8 possible by Monday morning.



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We appreciate any snowpack and avalanche observations you have, so please leave us a message at (801) 524-5304 or 1-800-662-4140, or email us at [email protected]. (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.


Drew Hardesty will update this advisory by 7:30 on Sunday morning.