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, February 03, 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, February 03, 2007 and its 7:30 in the morning.

Wed like to give a big thanks to Jim Shea and the Canyons for their awesome support at last nights fund raiser.


Current Conditions:

The Thursday storm produced a welcome 5 to 7 of fresh snow, and a combination of wind and particle size made the snow pleasantly thick and creamy despite its low density. Temperatures are in the single digits along the ridgelines this morning, and in the teens at mid elevations. The winds have kicked it up a notch since yesterday, and are blowing steadily from a northwesterly direction in the 15 to 25 mph range, with gusts in the 40s. Across the highest peaks, theyre blasting with 40 to 55 mph averages and gusts in the 60s, 70s and 80s. Riding conditions are much improved, especially out of the wind and on slopes with a smoother old surface, but dont let the fresh, smooth surface trick you. The same rocks, stumps and old tracks youve been dodging the past few weeks are still lurking just below the surface.


Snowpack and Avalanche Conditions:

There was a variety of avalanche activity yesterday, all relating to fresh wind drifts. There were a few small naturals and cornice cutting and slope cuts produced good results. The slides were shallow, pockety wind drifts, 8-15" deep and 20' - 60' wide. A few broke back up onto the ridgelines further than expected, and one was triggered remotely, mid slope. There was one report of a sluff gouging into old facets, on a wind sheltered slope.


Today, I expect more of the same activity. With the winds blowing at a good speed for drifting snow all night, the wind drifts will stay active and easily triggered today. The drifts will be a bit deeper, wider, denser, and more widespread today. They are definitely big enough to tug on you, and even catch you and take you for a ride in steep terrain. While you can find these drifts on a variety of aspects and mid slope, they will be most widespread on slopes having an easterly component and along the ridgelines. With the continued winds, a few more small, spontaneous soft slabs may run, so avoid travel directly below steep, wind loaded slopes. Warming and direct sun may increase the sensitivity of the new snow on steep sunny slopes this afternoon that can be handled with careful slope cuts out of wind drifted areas.

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

Today, the avalanche danger is MODERATE on any slope steeper than about 35 degrees with recent drifts of wind blown snow. These drifts may be deeper, denser and more widespread than yesterday, so approach any steep slope with caution, being very careful to identify and avoid drifts. On non-wind affected terrain and on slopes less steep than about 35 degrees, the avalanche danger is generally LOW, but watch for sluffing of the new snow on sunny slopes as the day heats up.


Mountain Weather:

High pressure is settling in for the weekend, bringing clear skies and rapidly warming temperatures. Highs today will reach the low 30s at 8,000 and upper 20s at 10,000. The northwesterly winds will stay obnoxiously strong along the highest peaks, continuing with their 40 to 55 mph averages with gusts to 80. Wind speeds will be significantly lower along most of the ridges, in the 15 to 25 mph range, with gusts in the 30s. Sundays weather will be clear and warm, with light winds.


Yesterday, the Wasatch Powderbird Guides did not fly, and they probably wont get out today due to wind, but if they do theyll be in Cardiff, Silver, Days, Mineral, Grizzly, American Fork, Snake Creek, and White Pine. With questions regarding their areas of operation call 742-2800.

On February 8th at 7:30, there will be a Teton Skiing documentary at Brewvies. Details are below, or click here for more information.


Sad news: Thursday, Ed LaChapelle, considered the grandfather of American avalanche research, died while attending the memorial service of his ex-wife and good friend, Delores LaChapelle in Silverton, Colorado. He died while skiing. Ed did most all of his pioneering avalanche research at Alta from the early 1950s until the early 1970s. He will be missed. For more information, click below.



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.