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


Wednesday, November 28, 2007  7:30 am
Good morning, this is Evelyn Lees with the Forest Service Utah Avalanche Center with your backcountry avalanche and mountain weather information.  Today is Wednesday, November 28, 2007 and it’s about 7:30 am.


Current Conditions:

Last night’s fast moving cold front dropped 3 inches of snow in the Ogden mountains, 5 to 8 inches in the Cottonwoods and on the Park City side, and an inch or two in the Provo mountains.  Densities are around 5%.  It is currently snowing lightly in the mountains, and temperatures are chilly, in the teens at 8,000’ and single digits above 10,000’.  Overnight, the northwesterly ridgetop winds were generally in the teens and 20’s, with gusts into the 30’s.  This morning, they’ve decreased into the 10 to 15 mph range, with gusts around 25. 


With most mountain terrain bare ground as of yesterday morning, over snow travel of all types will continue to be very limited, isolated to the shady upper elevations or snow packed roads.  Above about 9,000’, the northerly facing slopes had 1 to 2 feet of snow remaining from the early season storms, capped by a mix of supportable and breakable crusts.  It will involve some walking to get to most areas where turns are possible, and dodging rocks and stumps could be today’s greatest hazard.


Avalanche Discussion:

I expect the new snow to bond poorly to most of the old snow surfaces, especially where the pre storm layering was a skiff of faceted snow sitting on hard old wind and sun crusts.  This will result in easy sluffing of the new snow on steep slopes, and any shallow wind drifts will be sensitive and easily triggered.  Be careful not to take a slide for life on the old hard snow surfaces now hidden beneath the new snow.  The old snow is quite variable over very short distances. 


Bottom Line:

Any avalanche danger is limited to wind drifted, upper elevation slopes that had a preexisting snow pack of a foot or more before last night’s storm.  While most of the wind drifts are too shallow to bury a person, the injuries from a slide down an icy slope into rocks could be serious.  Tonight and tomorrow, increasing temperatures and strong, southwesterly winds could increase the depth and sensitivity of the new snow drifts, so the Thursday’s avalanche danger may increase slightly.


Mountain Weather: 

The current light snow should taper off by mid morning, with skies forecast to rapidly clear by afternoon.  Winds will be from the northwest today, in the 10 to 20 mph range, with gusts to 25.  Wind speeds and gusts will be about 10 mph faster along the highest ridges and peaks.  Temperatures will warm into the low 20’s at 8,000’ and low teens at 10,000’.  Tonight and tomorrow, a strong southwesterly flow will develop, bringing warming temperatures, a chance for light snow, and southwesterly ridgeline winds increasing into the 20 to 30 mph range with gusts to near 50.  Friday through the weekend will be partly cloudy, with occasional light snow showers.  The next chance for a decent storm looks to be about a week away.


Alta Ski Lifts will be closed to uphill traffic starting today, Wednesday, the 28th, in preparation for opening.  Please obey all run closures at all the ski areas as they prepare to open.


For an avalanche education class listing, click HERE.  


If you want to get this avalanche advisory e-mailed to you daily click HERE.


The UAC has job openings.  Click HERE for info.


We are in the office most days.  You can reach us by calling 524 5304 or e-mail us at [email protected].  Keep in mind it may take a few days if you are looking for a return message.


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 our classic text advisory click HERE.

We are now issuing avalanche statements as weather and snow conditions change, and appreciate any snowpack and avalanche observations.  So if your getting out there give us a call and leave 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.