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, January 17, 2007  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 Wednesday, January 17, 2007 and it’s 7:30 in the morning.


Bruce Tremper will be giving a talk tonight at 5:30 pm, on the Science and History of Avalanches at the Lodge at Snowbird, and the public is welcome.


Tomorrow, January 18th, the Hellgate-Superior portion of Little Cottonwood Canyon road will be closed for highway avalanche rescue training from approximately 9 am to 2 pm.  Travel to Alta will be via the by-pass road.


Our partners, the Friends of the UAC, are hosting the 4th Annual Backcountry Awareness Week Fundraising Dinner on Friday, February 2, 2007. The dinner will be at The Canyons and Olympic Gold Medal Winner Jim Shea will be the keynote speaker. For tickets and information visit www.UtahAvalancheCenter.com


Current Conditions:

Skies are clear this morning, and mountain temperatures are in the single digits to low teens.  In the Ogden and Provo area mountains, temperatures at the 7 and 8,000’ foot stations have warmed into the upper teens.  Winds have shifted to the southwest, and are generally in the 5 to 10 mph range.  It’s a bit breezier in the Ogden area mountains, with speeds of 15 to 25 mph, and gusts to 30.   Sun and clean air are the main reason to head into the mountains today, and when you find a few good turns here and there, it will just be icing on the cake.  With good visibility and stable snow, it’s a great time to explore new terrain.


Snowpack and Avalanche Conditions:

The snowpack is mostly stable, and the avalanche danger is generally low.   But that doesn’t mean you can’t trigger a slide.  Yesterday, people continued to trigger small loose snow slides, “sugarlanches” as Bill Nalli calls them.  On steep slopes, some of these sluffs are just large enough to knock you off your feet and take you for a ride.  Be especially careful on slopes where there are hard, slick crusts beneath.  Also, people were able to crack out a few shallow wind slabs in the Provo and American Fork drainages, about 2 to 6” deep.  Again, if these surprised you on steep terrain, they could knock you off balance, and send you over a cliff or for a slide.  So as you travel today, use normal caution.  Go one at a time on steep slopes, keep your partner in sight, and always have an escape plan.  And keep looking at the snow – great faceted crystals are developing in some of the shallower spots, and crust/facet sandwiches abound.


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

The snowpack is mostly stable and the avalanche danger generally LOW.  Remember, Low Danger doesn’t mean no danger, and there are isolated places where a person could trigger a small slide – most likely a shallow, loose sluff or a thin, hard wind slab.  These pose the greatest threat if they surprise you in steep terrain, and push you over a cliff or into a gully. 


Mountain Weather: 

The mountain weather will be delightful, with moderating temperatures and plenty of sunshine.  Temperatures will be in the low teens at 10,000’ and warm to near 30 at 8,000’.  Winds will be from the southwest, generally in the 5 to 15 mph range.  The winds will shift to a more westerly direction later today, and increase into the 20 to 30 mph range across the highest terrain by tonight.  Partly cloudy skies tonight and tomorrow, as a weak trough clips northern Utah, with a few flakes of snow possible.  Then, it looks to me as if the high pressure camped out over northern Utah has decided to homestead.



Yesterday, the Wasatch Powderbird Guides flew in Cardiff, Mineral, Mill Canyon Peak and Dry Fork.  Today they’ll be in Mineral, Cardiff, Days, Silver, Mill Creek, American Fork and Cascade.  If you have questions regarding their areas of operation you can contact them at 742-2800.


The beacon park is up and running at Solitude Ski Resort if you’re looking for something to do until the next snow.

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.

To sign up for automated e-mails of our graphical advisory click HERE

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.

Bruce Tremper will
update this advisory by 7:30 on Thursday morning, and thanks for calling.