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


Tuesday, February 06, 2007  7:30 am
Good morning, this is Brett Kobernik with the Forest Service Utah Avalanche Center with your backcountry avalanche and mountain weather advisory.  Today is Tuesday, February 06, 2007 and it’s 7:30 in the morning.

Current Conditions:

Yesterday, Mother Nature decided to add “damp and manky” to our expanding array of variable snow conditions.  I say, thank you Mother Nature for reminding us how good we usually have it here in the Wasatch but, we were getting the hint a number of weeks ago already.  Temperatures maxed out around 50 degrees at some 9000 foot locations yesterday.  They cooled slightly in the afternoon but have been on the rise again since around 4pm yesterday and are near 40 at elevations as high as 11,000 feet.  Winds picked up slightly but are only in the 5 to 15 mph range from the west southwest.


Snowpack and Avalanche Conditions:

Collapsing of the recent wind slabs continued yesterday.  There was one significant avalanche triggered from a slope cut yesterday by some snow safety workers near the Canyons ski resort.  (PHOTOS)  They were in the area to look at some avalanche activity from the previous day when they were able to get the adjacent slope to release.  The slide was around 200 feet wide and up to 19 inches deep on an east northeast facing slope at around 9400 feet.  The culprit was once again a wind slab over weak faceted snow which has formed throughout this season but surface hoar was also noted in portions of the bed surface.  Skiers in Big Springs were able to get a hard slab to release with some coaxing that was 6 to 18 inches deep, 40 feet wide and ran about 400 feet vertical.  While the temperatures did skyrocket yesterday wet avalanche activity was somewhat limited. 


Since the recent wind slabs are sitting on a persistent weak layer, you can expect collapsing and the potential for avalanching to continue.  As the days progress it will be harder to trigger some of these but there’s no doubt that you can still find a spot that will avalanche.  You’ll mainly find these above around 8500 or 9000 feet on north through southeast facing aspects but I did have a drift collapse on a west facing aspect yesterday so don’t let your guard down.


The very warm temperatures yesterday as well as overnight demand we keep in mind that this can contribute to snow instability.  Damp snow on the surface and “rollerballing” are signs that the snow is becoming unstable.  Also keep in mind that the surface may not be especially wet but the warm temperatures may have weakened the structure of the snow enough to produce a slab avalanche.  Lots of faceted snow this year adds suspicion.  Avalanching from warming is most likely on southerly facing slopes at the higher elevations and all aspects down low.


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.  Steep north through southeast facing slopes with recent deposits of wind drifted snow should be avoided.  Southerly facing slopes need to be monitored closely for heat related activity as well as all aspects at lower elevations.


Mountain Weather: 

Today we’ll see partly cloudy skies with mild temperatures and westerly winds in the 5 to 15 mph range along most of the ridges.  Temperatures won’t warm a whole lot more but will remain in the 30s at the higher elevations and in the 40s at 8000 feet.  A moist westerly flow is still scheduled to affect us through the weekend with the first impulse on Wednesday which has only a slight chance of measurable snow with it.  The next few impulses after that have a better chance to produce snow.


Yesterday, the Wasatch Powderbird Guides were in AF and the Cascade Ridgeline and won’t fly today.  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. 


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

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


Our statewide tollfree line is 1-888-999-4019 (early morning, 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.

Evelyn Lees will
update this advisory by 7:30 on Wednesday morning, and thanks for calling.