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 13, 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 13, 2007 and it’s 7:30 in the morning.

The Banff Mountain Film Festival will be held at Kingsbury Hall February 20 & 21st.  Tickets are $7.50 per show and area available at Kingsbury Hall, Art-Tix, the Salt Lake and Sandy REI stores, and the Outdoor Recreation Program at the U of U.  Shows start at 7pm each night.  (CLICK FOR DETAILS)


Current Conditions:

The winds have really dropped off and are generally light from the south.  Temperatures are in the mid teens to low 20s and we have mostly cloudy skies.  There is some snow moving into the Provo area mountains.

Snowpack and Avalanche Conditions:

WOW!  What a day for looking at avalanches yesterday.  Large natural avalanches occurred in the mountains from Provo to Ogden over the weekend.  We’ve been crying about how weak our snowpack is for months saying “once we get a load, look out”.  Well, we’ve got a load, so look out!  These slides averaged around 2 feet deep but had fracture lines up to 4 feet.  Many of them were 100 to 200 feet wide.  I’ll be updating our avalanche list and photo list on our web site this morning with the tidal wave of observations from Monday.


There were a number of close calls with human triggered avalanches on Monday that produced very dangerous slides.  A couple were in White Pine, Twin Lakes Pass, Figure 8 hill, and Claytons Peak behind Brighton.  There’s no need in dissecting the snowpack trying to figure out details.  Weak faceted snow with scattered surface hoar is the weakness and the snow from the last two storms is the slab.  Many slopes were pushed to the brink supporting as much new weight as they could but didn’t avalanche.  This means they’re just waiting for a trigger.  Collapsing or “Whoomping” of the snowpack is the biggest clue to this.


The potential for a person to trigger a large and dangerous avalanche is likely today.  Again, these slides are big enough where you don’t want to toy with them.  Sticking to low angled terrain is a good way to avoid the danger.  Personally, I can’t enjoy steeper terrain with the thought of avalanching in my head all day long so low angled terrain sets my mind at ease as well.  If you do venture into low angled terrain, make sure you don’t have steeper slopes above you.  The collapsing that is occurring can easily propagate up a slope from the flats and trigger an avalanche.


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

The danger for the Salt Lake, Park City, Provo, and Ogden area mountains is CONSIDERABLE.  Human triggered avalanches are likely especially on east and northeast facing slopes but caution needs to be taken on all aspects.  Those without good route finding or avalanche skills should avoid the backcountry.  Do not travel in run out zones which means stay away from areas with steep terrain above you.


Mountain Weather: 

A storm system will move through Utah today and produce snow but this will be mainly from the Provo mountains south.  We’ll see partly cloudy skies with a few inches of snow possible from the Salt Lake mountains northward.  4 to 8 inches of snow with around a half inch of water is expected in the central mountains of Utah with the addition of the Provo area.  Additional snow will increase the avalanche danger in these areas.  Temperatures will be in the low to mid 20s and ridgetop winds will be light and generally from the southwest.  A northwest flow will be in place for the remainder of the week but with only slight chances for snow before a ridge of high pressure moves in for the weekend.



Yesterday, the Wasatch Powderbird Guides flew in American Fork and will be in Cardiff, Days, Silver, Grizzly, White Pine, Mill Creek and the Sessions weather permitting 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.

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