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, February 07, 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, February 07, 2007 and it’s 7:30 in the morning.

Our partners, the Friends of the Utah Avalanche Center, will be hosting a fundraiser of a new Teton Skiing documentary tomorrow night, February 8th,  at Brevwies at 7:30 pm.   

Also tomorrow night, February 8th, the UAC will be giving a FREE avalanche awareness talk at the Sandy REI, at 7 pm and there is a FREE Avalanche Rescue and Beacon Use talk at the Huntsville Library at 7 pm.  There will also be a FREE Beacon clinic Saturday at the Snowbasin Rescue Training Center at 10 am.  For more information, call 940-0521.


Current Conditions:

Under mostly clear skies, temperatures are running a few degrees cooler than yesterday morning, with the highest elevations below freezing in the upper 20’s to near 30.  However, many stations in the 7,500’ to 10,000’ level are still above freezing for the second night in a row, with temperatures in the mid 30’s.  The winds have shifted to a southwesterly direction, and are generally in the 5 to 10 mph range, with gusts to 20 mph.  Only a few of the highest peaks have speeds to 25 mph.


Snowpack and Avalanche Conditions:

While few people were in the backcountry yesterday, those who were observed wet avalanche activity.  Yesterday, in the Parley Summit area it was easy to trigger wet loose sluffs on steep shady slopes between 6,500'-8,200’, which were breaking out in old dry facets and gouging to the ground.  Similar natural activity was reported on low elevation shady slopes in the Provo area mountains, with the sluffs releasing in damp facets.  There was also a decent size sluff reported on a steep, southeast facing slope off north summit of Cascade peak, at approximately 10,400'.  All of these had debris piles deep enough to bury a person.


Today, people will continue to be able to trigger wet loose sluffs on steep shady and sunny slopes, especially as the day heats up.  These surface sluffs can gouge down and entrain loose snow, resulting in a lot of punch and substantial piles of debris.  They will be common on both mid and low elevation shady slopes and steep sunny slopes.  It may also be possible to trigger a few wet slab avalanches where crusts are sitting on damp facets, so don’t let this morning’s shallow surface refreeze fool you.

The other avalanche problem for today is the continuing chance of triggering a hard wind drift or crust at higher elevations that is sitting on a weak layer of persistent facets.  Yesterday’s winds may have created a few new sensitive drifts in addition to the old drifts.  These hard slabs are tricky as they often break out above you, and even a small slide can be dangerous if it takes you for a ride through rocks or into a gully where you can be more easily buried.   They are most widespread on north through southeast facing slopes.


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

Today, there is a MODERATE avalanche danger on most slopes steeper than about 35 degrees for wet loose sluffs and a few wet slabs.  The wet loose sluffs will be most widespread the shady mid and low elevation slopes and on steep sunny slopes.  There also remains a MODERATE danger of triggering an old or new drift of wind blown snow on steep mid and upper elevation slopes.  MODERATE danger means human triggered avalanches are possible.


Mountain Weather: 

High pressure will weaken today, with a mild, moist westerly flow developing over the area and remaining through the weekend.  Clouds will increase this afternoon, with temperatures warming into the mid 40’s at 8,000’ and the mid 30’s at 10,000’.  This morning’s light southwesterly winds will increase into the 15 to 25 mph range this afternoon, with gusts into the 30’s. Along the highest ridgelines, wind speed will increase into the 20’s with gusts to 40.  Skies will be mostly cloudy tonight through Friday.  There is a chance for occasional light snow through Friday, with a rain/snow line in the 6 – 7,000’ range.   


Yesterday, the Wasatch Powderbird Guides did not fly, and they won’t fly again today.  With questions regarding their areas of operation call 742-2800.

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.

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