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, January 20, 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 Saturday, January 20, 2007 and it’s 7:30 in the morning.

Our partners, the Friends of the UAC, are hosting numerous events during the 4th Annual Backcountry Awareness Week, including a photo show by Scott Markowitz at the Rose Wagner Theater on Jan 24th, a slide show and book signing by Jill Fredston at REI on Jan 26th, a star studded snowmobile ride and dinner on Jan. 27th, a dinner February 2 at The Canyons with Olympic Gold Medal Winner Jim Shea, and avalanche classes at the Canyons on February 3rd and 4th.  Details are below, or click here for more information.


Current Conditions:

A small disturbance is headed our way, and temperatures are warmer this morning.  Most stations are in the upper teens and low twenties.  The winds have shifted to the northwest, and are blowing in the 10 to 15 mph range.  It’s time to forget any New Years resolutions about “low fat”.  Instead, “super size”, with wide skis, long boards and larger snow shoes.  This will help keep you on top of the greatest facets on earth…which are becoming increasingly punchy in shallow snowpack areas, especially at the mid elevations.  However, most areas are still supportable due to the interspersed crust layers  (photo) (Profile) and the turns are good in the sugary snow and surface hoar if you can find untracked slopes.  And if nothing else, at least you’ll find clean air to exercise in.


Snowpack and Avalanche Conditions:

The only avalanches reported yesterday were the now common sluffs on steep slopes.  If you turn your back and get surprised, a few of these sluffs are large enough that they could knock you off balance, or pile up snow deeply in a confined gully.  Also, there are a few shallow wind slabs out there that could still be triggered by a person.  While it’s been a couple of days since someone last triggered one (PHOTOS), if you’re in steep, radical terrain getting knocked off your feet could be dangerous.   So be observant and think consequences.  As for the bottom line, looks like we’re trying for a record as to see how long we can keep the exact same one running with no changes. 


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: 

Looks like there will finally be a small shake up in the weather department – while we can’t actually fire the high pressure, it will be temporarily replaced with a small Pacific cold front.  Clouds will gradually increase today, with snow showers possible by evening.  The northwesterly winds will also increase throughout the day, into the 15 to 25 mph range, with gusts in the 30’s.  A few inches of snow are possible tonight, with winds shifting to the northeast.  Clouds will decrease on Sunday, with temperatures cooling back into the single digits at 10,000’.  High pressure will take control once again through at least mid week.



Yesterday, the Wasatch Powderbird Guides flew in Mineral, Cardiff and the Sessions.  Today they’ll be hunting all over like the rest of us in Cardiff, Mineral, Days, White Pine, American Fork, and the Sessions.  If you have questions regarding their areas of operation you can contact them at 742-2800.

January 24th at 7:30pm, our partners, the Friends of UAC will be accepting donations at a photo show by mountain sports photographer Scott Markewitz. Shot both internationally and in Utah, Scott’s images have been showcased in the world’s most prestigious ski and outdoor and capture the essence of what keeps us alive, twitching and checking this report daily. Suggested donation $10. At the Rose Wagner Blackbox Theater, 138 W 300 S in downtown SLC.

On Friday, January 26th, the well-known Alaska avalanche expert, Jill Fredston will give a slide show and a lecture on, Snowstruck, her new book about her career with Alaska avalanches.  It will be at the Salt Lake REI at 7pm.  Sales from her book will benefit the Utah Avalanche Center.  She will also speak at Alta’s Our Lady of the Snows on Saturday night, January 27th.

On Saturday Jan. 27th, come join us for a star studded fundraising ride. Click here for more details or call 801-963-3819. 


Then there will be a 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 Also, the Canyons will be offering avalanche classes on Saturday and Sunday, February 3rd and 4th.  For more information and to register, call 435-615-3325.


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

UDOT highway avalanche control work information can be found HERE or by calling (801) 975-4838.


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.

Drew Hardesty will
update this advisory by 7:30 on Sunday morning, and thanks for calling.