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 27, 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 27, 2007 and it’s 7:30 in the morning.




Current Conditions:

Winds picked up overnight from the southwest and are gusting to near 30 at the mid elevation ridges and around 60 at the higher locations.  Temperatures are in the low to mid 20s in the 8 to 10,000 foot range.  Snow is starting to move into mountain locations mainly north of I-80 currently.


Snow and Avalanche Discussion:

There was no shortage of avalanche activity from yesterday with both natural and human triggered avalanches.  Most of the natural activity happened early Monday morning.  Notable slides included one in Silver Fork that was near 4 feet deep and 300 feet wide, one east of Claytons Peak that was reported to be quite deep and wide breaking into old snow, and one in West Monitor which was around 200 feet wide but only involved the most recent snow.  (PHOTOS)


Avalanche control work produced results within the new snow yesterday and at least one slide that relates to backcountry conditions quite well.  Snow safety workers produced an avalanche 4 to 5 feet deep in MacDonald’s Draw with one shot from an avalauncher to protect residential housing below the slope.  (PHOTO)  (Click on the photos link on the left for a few more shots from Monday.)


One more avalanche that you should take note of was remotely triggered by skiers returning to Mineral Fork in Big Cottonwood for a second day.  The avalanche released 3 feet deep and around 200 feet wide taking out their tracks from the previous day.


The common theme with slides breaking into old snow is a northeast aspect above about 8500 feet.


The first thing you need to watch for today if you are venturing into the backcountry is fresh drifts from the current southwest winds.  This will load mostly east and northeast facing slopes but the winds are quite strong even at lower elevations and the mountainous terrain will surely channel them in many different directions.  This means keep an eye out on all slopes for recent drifting.


The next thing you need to be concerned with is the winds and new snow overloading the deeper weak layers.  North, northeast and east facing slopes are the most suspect but watch for large deposits of snow on any slope that has weak underlying snow.  These slides are quite a bit larger then the new snow avalanches and have much greater consequences if you are caught in one.  Experts are still taking a conservative approach to recreation in the backcountry.


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

The avalanche danger is on the rise today.  Currently, many slopes have a CONSIDERABLE danger but they will quickly go to a HIGH danger especially on north through south east facing slopes.  Those without expert level route finding skills should avoid backcountry travel today.


Mountain Weather: 

Strong southwest winds will continue for a good portion of the day and we’re expecting 6 to 12 inches of snow in most locations with more possible in the Cottonwoods.  Around an inch of water weight is expected to be added to the snowpack.  Mountain temperatures will be in the upper teens to low 20s.  It looks like we’ll see chances for snow over the next few days.



The Wasatch Powderbird Guides didn’t get out yesterday and will be grounded today due to weather.  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 Wednesday morning, and thanks for calling.