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, December 12, 2007  7:30 am
Good morning, this is Evelyn Lees with the Forest Service Utah Avalanche Center with your backcountry avalanche and mountain weather advisory.  Today is Wednesday, December 12, 2007 and it’s about 7:30 am.


UDOT will be sighting in their weapon in Provo Canyon today from about 11 am to 1 pm.  Ice climbing will be closed this morning until the shooting is complete.


There will be a benefit for our partners, the Friends of the Utah Avalanche Center, tomorrow night at Brewvies .  It will be a double feature of “Lost and Found” from TGR and “Sublimation Experiment” from KGB. Two shows, at 6:30pm and 9:00pm.  Admission: $7 pre pay / $10 at the door CLICK HERE TO BUY TICKETS 


Alta Community Enrichment will be sponsoring a free women's avalanche beacon clinic tomorrow, December 13th, from 9 am until around noon.  Meet inside the Albion Grill at Alta's Ski Lift's upper lot at 9am.  Skies, snowshoes or just boots OK.  Extra beacons available. For more information call 742-9712 OR EMAIL [email protected].


Current Conditions:

Bundle up for another chilly morning; mountain temperatures are once again in the 5 to 10 degree range, except for the drainage bottoms, where they’ve dropped even lower into the negative single digits.  The winds have shifted to the northwest, and are very light this morning, in the 5 to 10 mph range, with a few gusts to 20mph.  Skies are currently clear, but will gradually cloud up later today.


Excellent turning and riding conditions continue, with care needed at the mid and lower elevations where the pack is still thin and rocks are still being hit.  There is a bit of wind damage along the highest ridges, and some crusting on the steep, sunny slopes. 


Avalanche Discussion:

Yesterday, there was one skier triggered slide reported in Wilson Glade, on a steep, northerly facing slope at approximately 9,800'.  It was about 50' wide and two feet deep, ran 500' vertical feet, and failed on facets.  Resort explosive control work also triggered a slide into old snow, 3 feet deep by 150’ wide, on an upper elevation, northwesterly facing slope.


So there is no change to the current pattern of instability – the weak facet layer of snow can still be triggered by people, and most people are just plain staying off the steep, northerly facing, upper elevation slopes, because there are still dangerous avalanches waiting to be set off.   The weak faceted layer is most widespread in the Cottonwoods and Provo area mountains, and more pockety in the Park City and Mill Creek areas.


Also, a few wind slabs did develop along the ridgelines yesterday, which were hard and hollow sounding and cracking underfoot.  These wind drifts should be avoided on steep slopes, and are most widespread along the higher ridgelines, above about 10,000’.


Bottom Line:

The avalanche danger is MODERATE on upper elevation northwest, north and northeasterly facing slopes steeper than about 35 degrees, above about 9,000’ in the Salt Lake, Park City and Provo area mountains. On these slopes it continues to be possible for a person to trigger a dangerous slab avalanche 2-3’ deep about 100’ wide.


Throughout all the range, there is also a MODERATE avalanche danger on any steep slope with hard drifts of wind blown snow, which are most widespread along the upper elevation ridgelines.


Mountain Weather: 

High pressure over the area will bring mostly clear skies and light winds to the mountains.  Temperatures will warm into the mid 20’s at 8,000’ and the midteens at 10,000’.   The northwesterly winds will be light, generally less than 15 mph, with gusts less than 25 mph.  Clouds will start to increase later today ahead of a weak disturbance that should bring a few inches of snow Thursday night through early Friday.  Another weak disturbance will follow for the weekend.


(Click HERE where you can get another look at the weather on our revamped weather page.  This page is updated everyday by around noon.)



For an avalanche education class list, click HERE.  

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

The UAC has temporary job openings for doing avalanche outreach in more rural areas.
  Click HERE for info.

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.

If you’re getting out and see anything we should know about please let us know.  You can 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.

Bruce Tremper
will update this advisory by 7:30 Thursday morning.