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


Thursday, March 22, 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, March 22, 2007 and it’s 7:30 in the morning.


Current Conditions:

Yesterday’s 4-6 inches of new snow seemed like quite a treat after hot, sweltering weather since nearly the first of the month.  But it is spring, after all, and it all turned to mank in a hurry except for the straight, north-facing slopes above about 9,500’.  The new snow is heavily sun crusted this morning except for upper elevation north facing slopes.   Yesterday, at elevations below about 8,500’, the old snow was not very supportable and people reported punching through into wet snow.  This morning, the ridge top temperatures remain the same as yesterday—20 to 25 degrees—but in the mountain basin bottoms, the temperatures are 5 degrees colder than yesterday and are also 20-25 degrees.  Skies were clear overnight so combined with the colder temperatures and clear skies, there should be a good refreeze overnight in most areas and it will be more solid than yesterday morning.


Snow and Avalanche Discussion:

A strong wind came up yesterday morning, which drifted snow in above-treeline slopes and created widespread areas of dense, shallow, soft, wind slabs, which would crack under you and slide on the steeper slopes.  But the spring heat settled them out by noon, so they should not be a problem again today.

Today the biggest problem will once again be the lingering potential of wet slabs, some of which could break deep into old, wet, faceted snow several feet deep.  Yesterday we had a report of wet slabs breaking out in the backcountry near Brighton but in reading the report it’s unclear whether these occurred yesterday or before that.  But in general, most slopes seemed to stay in place despite people getting aggressive on most of the popular, steep, backcountry terrain.    The take-home point here is that you should practice the usual springtime ritual of getting out early and get home early.  Stay off of steep, sun-exposed slopes when they get wet and mushy especially in the heat of the afternoon.

See photos and field reports from yesterday at our PHOTOS page.


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

The avalanche danger is MODERATE on slopes steeper than about 35 degrees, when slopes get wet and soggy, especially in the heat of the afternoon on sun exposed slopes.


Mountain Weather: 

Today should be a bluebird, sunny day with light ridgetop winds and ridge top temperatures near freezing.  8,000’ temperatures will probably get up into the 40’s in the warm sun.   We may get a few high and mid level clouds on Friday and a brush-by system on Sunday may give us a few snowflakes, but otherwise, nothing until next Tuesday and Wednesday when a strong cold font is forecast.



The Wasatch Powderbird Guides didn’t get out yesterday and today they will fly in Cardiff, Days, Silver, Mineral, Mill Creek, American Fork, Cascades and the Sessions.  For more info, call 742-2800.


Today, Evelyn Lees will teach a day long Women’s Avalanche Awareness class at Alta covering beacon use and basic safe travel, terrain and snowpack information, for $30.  For more details go to: www.altaarts.org.


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.

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