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.

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Friday, February 23, 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 Friday, February 23, 2007 and it’s 7:30 in the morning.


Current Conditions:

Yesterday was the 13th day in a row with human triggered avalanches and my money is on……ah, forget it.  Look, conditions are scary!  You can trigger a deadly avalanche today, tomorrow, the next day, etc.  Strong southwest winds make the weather headlines from yesterday.  They’ve been strong for a period of over 24 hours now.  Temperatures are dropping and are around 20 degrees in the 8000 to 9000 foot range.  Heavy snowfall started falling around 4am and has been snowing in the 3 inch an hour range for the past couple of hours!!  Snowbird had 6 inches already at 6 am in the village.


Snow and Avalanche Discussion:

The body of an avalanche victim on Gobblers Knob was recovered yesterday.  (For details, click the Accidents link on the left)  The avalanche that killed him was around 250 feet wide, 1 to 2 feet deep and ran around 6-800 feet vertical.  He was killed from trauma.


Other activity from yesterday included natural avalanching from the recent winds overloading lee slopes.  (Kessler) (Naturals in the Uintas)  A backcountry snowboarder remotely triggered an avalanche 2 ˝ feet deep and 75 to 100 feet wide from a safe distance away.  Two other human triggered avalanches were reported from the Bountiful area mountains.  (Click the Photos link on the right)


If you do feel the need to test your avalanche assessment skills today the first thing to keep in mind are the recent strong winds.  This has transported snow into fresh drifts that were cracking out yesterday.  These, however, are the least of your worries.


Overloading of the very weak basal snowpack layers is by far the biggest concern.  Avalanching on this layer continues.  Did I already mention 13 days in a row of people triggering large and dangerous avalanches.  DON’T SCREW AROUND WITH IT!  Winds will have overloaded some slopes or just pushed them that much closer to the brink.  Additional weight from today’s expected snow will compound the problem.


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

An AVALANCHE WARNING remains in affect for the mountains of Utah.  Recent winds with more snow on the way is contributing to a HIGH avalanche danger.  People without expert level avalanche assessment and route finding skills should stay out of the backcountry today and through the weekend.  Slopes of 30 degrees in steepness or greater especially on north through southeast facing aspects should be avoided.  Stay out from underneath these steep slopes as well since the avalanches will be getting bigger and running farther. 


Mountain Weather: 

Snow is falling and will continue for most of the day before tapering off this evening some time.  Most mountain locations in northern Utah should see 6 to 12 inches of snow and areas favored by a northwest flow could be into the 16 to 20 inch range by the time it’s finished.  Up to an inch of water weight or a bit better could be added to the snowpack.  We’ll see a break for Saturday which has me quite concerned that this will entice people into dangerous areas.  I would not be surprised to see another avalanche fatality on Saturday.  PEOPLE……try your best to control your hunger for fresh snow.  Another fairly decent storm is expected Sunday.



Yesterday, the Wasatch Powderbird Guides did not fly due to wind and will not fly 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 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.

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