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, January 08, 2007  7:30 am
Good morning, this is Drew Hardesty with the Forest Service Utah Avalanche Center with your backcountry avalanche and mountain weather advisory.  Today is Monday, January 08, 2007 and it’s 7:30 in the morning. 


Current Conditions:

A warm front has given us mostly cloudy skies and some localized misting in the mountains this morning along with a rapid rise in temps.  Temperatures warmed dramatically the last 24 hours and are up fifteen to twenty degrees into the high teens and low twenties.   Northwest winds picked up again overnight and blowing 40-60mph along the high ridges.  The wind damage has been tremendous enough to consider changing our catchphrase from ‘Greatest snow on earth’ to ‘Utah- it’s like skiing on the moon.’

Snowpack and Avalanche Conditions:

The cold temps, ferocity of winds, and uneven distribution of wind slabs kept things in check yesterday.  Only minor collapsing was reported in mid-White Pine of Little Cottonwood with nothing else to report from the backcountry.  Ski area control teams reported the hard wind slabs as being stubborn and non-reactive with the most interesting a 2’ deep 120’ wide avalanche on a north east aspect near 11,000’ in upper Little Cottonwood.  It ran naturally on Saturday.  One observer in upper Mill Creek noted a slide breaking into old faceted snow in upper Alexander Basin on a northeast facing slope at about 9600’.  It was apparently triggered by another natural from above cascading over a cliff-band. 


Continued winds will produce a few more drifts today, but they should be minor in scope.  The other player is the rapid rise in temperatures, which can accentuate the ‘trigger-ability’ of previously locked up wind drifts by softening the slab and nudging up the creep rate on the steeper slopes.  It’s all conjecture, but something to look into if you’re at home or the office and not skiing or riding the coral.  With stellars being the most persistent ‘non-persistent’ weak layer under the drifts, it would be worth doing a few snowpits if you are getting out today. 


Bottom Line for the Salt Lake, Park City, Ogden and Provo area mountains:

The danger is MODERATE on all recently wind drifted slopes steeper than about 35 degrees.   Non wind affected slopes will have a LOW danger. 


Mountain Weather: 

Building high pressure should thin out the mostly cloudy skies by the afternoon and the northwesterly winds will slowly drop off to a more ‘reasonable’ 25-30mph.  Temps continue to rise to the mid to upper twenties.  Although the models seem to wobble around on some of the details, it does look like a cold and sustained system for Thursday through Saturday and my theory is that it is about time.



The Wasatch Powderbird Guides were grounded due to weather yesterday and if they can get out today, will try to fly in AF and Snake Creek.

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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 Tuesday morning, and thanks for calling.