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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Thursday, December 14, 2006  7:30 am
Good morning, this is Bruce Tremper with the Forest Service Utah Avalanche Center with your backcountry avalanche and mountain weather advisory.  Today is Thursday, December 14, 2006 and it’s 7:30 in the morning. 


An avalanche watch has been issued for the Logan-area mountains including the Wellsville and Bear River Ranges and also the Ben Lomond area. 


Current Conditions:

The fire hose has been trained on the Logan-area mountains and Ben Lomond Peak for the past couple days and they have received 1.4 inches of water weight in the past day and over 2 inches of water in the past two days.  In areas south of there, we have only added a measly .3 inches of water weight in the past day and .7 or less from the storm so far.  Yesterday was a rather miserable day in the mountains with poor visibility, rain and wet, mashed potatoes snow below about 8,500’ along and dense, wind-blown snow at higher elevations.  To make matters worse, temperatures have continued to rise overnight with the rain-snow line expected to be around 8,500’ today and the winds have picked up to 30, gusting to 60 on the highest ridges.


Snowpack and Avalanche Conditions:

In the Salt Lake, Park City and Provo area mountains, although there is a lot of weak, faceted snow buried in our shallow, anemic snowpack, there just isn’t enough weight on top to make things sensitive.    On the other hand, the mountains north of Ogden are a different story with two to three times the water weight and along with the rising temperatures and wind, you should be able to find plenty of steep slopes where you can trigger an avalanche today. 

If you would like to know how to test for instabilities within new snow, here are some great demos of the shovel tilt test, which also works well to reveal the weaknesses in the upper pack. (PHOTO)  (Quicktime video, 5.3mb),



Bottom Line:

Mountains south of Ogden including SLC, Park City, Provo: the avalanche danger is MODERATE on upper elevation slopes steeper than about 35 degrees with recent deposits of wind drifted snow.  The danger of damp to wet sluffs is also MODERATE on steep slopes at elevations below about 8,500’ where the snow has become soggy.  Out of wind affected terrain and on slopes less steep than 35 degrees, the danger is LOW. 

Mountains north of Ogden including Ben Lomond and Logan: the avalanche danger is on all slopes steeper than about 35 degrees is CONSIDERABLE today and may rise to HIGH with additional snow and wind today.  We have issued an avalanche watch for this area, meaning that you should watch out for rising avalanche danger.


Mountain Weather:

We will have Oregon-like weather today with cloudy skies and light rain below about 8,500’ with a couple inches of dense snow at higher elevations.  Ridge top winds will pick up and blow around 30 mph from the west with 40, gusting to 60 on the highest peaks.  Temperatures will reach their maximum on Friday morning, when the freezing level will rise above 9,000’ with 40 mph winds from the southwest.  Then, the temperatures will start to fall with a strong, but quick-hitting cold front coming through on about Saturday morning.  We may get 8 inches of snow from the cold front and temperatures by Saturday afternoon will plunge to the single digits.  After that, we have a complex, closed low over our area for a couple days, which are notoriously hard to forecast, but right now we don’t see any significant precipitation after Saturday’s cold front.



I will teach an avalanche awareness class at the South Valley Unitarian Church this evening at 7:00 pm.


Listen to the advisory.  Try our new streaming audio or podcasts

Our new, state wide tollfree hotline is 1-888-999-4019.
(For early morning detailed avalanche activity report hit option 8)

For a list of avalanche classes, click HERE

For our classic text advisory click HERE.

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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.


Brett Kobernik will update this advisory by 7:30 on Friday morning.