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
“keeping you on top”
February 15, 2007 7:30 am
Good morning, this is
The Banff Mountain Film Festival will be held at Kingsbury Hall next Tuesday and Wednesday, February 20 & 21st. Tickets are $7.50 per show and 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)
The winds are blowing hard from the west and northwest. With the jet over us, the higher elevation stations are blowing significantly harder than ones just a couple thousand vertical feet lower. At 11,000’ the winds are blowing 40, gusting to 60 but most other ride top locations are blowing 20 gusting to 35. Temperatures are cold this morning around 13 on the ridge tops but they will warm up into the 20’s later today with continued strong winds and light snow showers, which will increase avalanche danger throughout the day.
Recent Avalanche Activity:
avalanche activity has thankfully diminished from the widespread activity on
Sunday and Monday, there are still many slabs hanging in the balance just
waiting for a trigger. Yesterday, a
snowboarder triggered an avalanche that was caught on video near Guradsman’s Pass. He
miraculously escaped despite being strained through trees. Also, a backcountry skier triggered an
avalanche on a ski cut on Box Elder Peak.
It was on a steep, north facing slope around 9800’ and it broke 2 or
more feet deep and 60 feet wide. He
narrowly escaped being caught. PHOTO. Also, someone
collapsed the flat slope at the top of Flanigans,
which is a tree-gladed slope in Silver Fork near
Solitude, and it triggered a 2’ deep avalanche on faceted snow.
Snow and Avalanche Discussion:
Today the main concern will be fresh wind slabs forming from the strong west to northwest winds. Strong winds combined with rising temperature will create sensitive wind deposits. They will form mostly along the upper elevation east to south facing slopes, but they will be cross-loaded onto other slopes as well. Be sure to avoid all steep slopes with recent deposits of wind drifted snow. They will look smooth and rounded and often feel slabby and south hollow.
Also, as you will get tired of us saying, this extremely weak and fragile layer of depth hoar, buried about two feet deep, will not gain strength very rapidly. It will continue to produce avalanches every time new snow or wind blown snow overloads it and occasionally when someone jumps on it. These are the kinds of pesky conditions where several people can get away with a bold line but the next person will trigger a large, potentially deadly avalanche. All the cagy people I know are continuing to play it conservative and staying on gentler slopes. Remember that you can trigger avalanches from a distance, so avoid travel below steep terrain.
FYI, I investigated a huge avalanche that skiers triggered in White Pine Canyon on Monday. Several slopes avalanched at once and it took out both their up tracks and descent tracks. They were very lucky. PHOTOS.
Bottom Line for the
The avalanche danger remain CONSIDERABLE on any slope steeper than about 35 degrees with recent wind deposits and also a lingering CONSIDERABLE danger even on non-wind drifted slopes that face northwest, north, northeast and east above about 8,500’. Other slopes will have MODERATE danger. You should continue to stay on gentler terrain.
Today and Friday we
will have a moist, west to northwest airmass with
strong winds and rising temperature. We
should get about 6 inches today and another few more inches tonight with more
snow accumulating the farther north you go.
Ridge top winds will continue to be strong, around 35, gusting to near
60 from the west and northwest and will continue strong on Friday. Ridge top temperatures will be in the lower
teens this morning and rise to the lower 20’s by afternoon. Total snow accumulation by late Friday could
be around 10 inches in favored areas.
The extended forecast calls for warm and dry this weekend with a storm early in the week with most of the energy diving south of us, but it should give us a few inches of snow.
Yesterday, the Wasatch Powderbird Guides flew in American Fork, Silver
Fork and Grizzly. Today, they most
likely be shut down for wind and snow, but if possible, they will be in the
same areas plus
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 all the great snowpack and avalanche observations we’ve been getting, so keep leaving us messages 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.
Brete Kobernik will update this advisory by 7:30 on Friday morning, and thanks for calling.