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

AVALANCHE ADVISORY

Thursday, February 08, 2007 7:30 am
Good morning, this is Bruce Tremper with the Forest Service Utah Avalanche Center with your backcountry avalanche and mountain weather advisory. Today is Thursday, February 08, 2007 and its 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 tonight at Brevwies at 7:30 pm.

Also tonight, Brett Kobernik 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.

 

Were unveiling the new look to our avalanche advisory today thanks to the design work by Jim Conway and the back-end programming by our own Brett Kobernik. We still have a few additions and changes to come. We also have a new Media Page to communicate present and future avalanche danger ratings.

 

Current Conditions:

The past three days, weve had t-shirt and ball cap weather with ridge top temperatures with highs 40-45 degrees with 8,000 temperatures in the 50s. This morning it has cooled down into the mid 20s. A weak impulse overnight left us with a mighty trace of new snow and ridge top winds have picked up and are blowing 20-30 from the west and southwest. Snow surface conditions are character-building variety of sun and wind crusts, manky, refrozen glop and a few scraps of soft, recrystallzed snow on sun and wind sheltered slopes. Yup, another good office day. But at least the smog has cleared out in the valleys.

Snowpack and Avalanche Conditions:

Yesterday a huge, hard-slab avalanche released naturally along the Park City Ridgeline in Radar Love Bowl, which is near Scotts Peak, the one with all the radar towers. It was 2-3 feet deep and broke up to 8 feet deep on one edge. It was nearly 200 yards wide on a 35 degree, east facing slope just under 10,000. It was rock-hard, wind blown snow that slid on a thin layer of faceted snow and surface hoar sandwiched between hard, wind slabs. PHOTOS and VIDEO. This is the kind of avalanche that gives avalanche folks grey hair (or no hair in my case). Its been 3 days since that slope was loaded with wind drifted snow. The only recent disturbance was the very warm temperatures yesterday and the day before, which in theory accelerates the creep rate of the slab. Regardless of any of our puny theories, one thing is for sure; if theres one, there are likely others. Its just like the old horror movie trick; just when you are starting to relax, the monster jumps out of the closet. Welcome to a Colorado snowpack. Although the colder temperatures and clouds today should, in theory, diminish this kind of monkey business, after what I saw yesterday, Im not going near any steep slopes with deposits of wind drifted snow.

But other than some isolated, impossible-to-survive, hard-slabs lurking about, everyone is reporting generally stable snow. Does that make you feel any more confident?

Most of the wet sluffs from the past two days will probably calm down today with cooler temperatures and clouds, but the snow is still soggy under the surface crusts, so continue to be cautious on steep slopes.

 

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

Although its impossible to describe conditions like this with danger ratings, I would say its mostly MODERATE avalanche danger on most slopes steeper than about 35 degrees with pockets of CONSIDERABLE or higher danger on slopes with deposits of wind drifted snow, especially in thin snowpack areas.

 

Mountain Weather:

We have another weak disturbance for later today that may give us another inch of snow if were lucky. The rain-snow line will be around 7,000. Otherwise mostly variable clouds with ridge top winds around 20 mph with gusts to 40 from the west and southwest. Ridge top temperatures will remain in the mid 20s and skies will be mostly cloudy all day.

 

For Friday, we have a weak disturbance on a southwest to south flow that will likely give us a couple inches of snow. We will likely have a quick clearing on Saturday, then we have another similar trough passing on Sunday and Monday, which may give us a few more inches.

Announcements:

Yesterday, the Wasatch Powderbird Guides did not fly, and they probably wont 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.

Brett Kobernik will
update this advisory by 7:30 on Friday morning, and thanks for calling.