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 26, 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 Wednesday, December 26, 2007 and it’s about 7:30 am.


Current Conditions:

The second avalanche fatality in Utah this season has occurred in the Western Uintas.  A male snowmobiler was caught and buried on Christmas Day.  We don’t have many details but do have UAC staff visiting the site today.  More information will be available soon.  (Click HERE for preliminary information)


Temperatures dipped below freezing at a number of mountain locations last night but have been on the rebound for a number of hours.  Winds slowed yesterday but increased slightly at the upper elevations overnight and are now in the 10 to 15 mph range gusting into the 30s at the most exposed locations.


Avalanche Discussion:

There was natural slab and loose snow avalanche activity during the previous windy snow event Monday night.  By Christmas morning this natural activity had passed and the wind slabs were becoming more stubborn.  Most people out in the backcountry reported mostly stable conditions within the newest snow during the day on Tuesday.  Control work at the ski resorts on Tuesday brought out a few avalanches that broke into old snow as well as numerous wind slabs.


For today we will see a rising avalanche danger as snow starts to pile up.  Winds shouldn’t be as much of a factor as the last storm but keep in mind that most natural avalanche activity occurs during the storms.  Watch for periods of intense snowfall as avalanche conditions can change rapidly when we see snowfall rates in the 2 inch per hour range for a few hours.


I need to continue to mention the possibility of triggering a slide into older weak snow as well.  Areas where the snowpack is deep such as the upper Cottonwoods show improvement with the underlying weak snow.  However, I do not trust those slopes just yet.  Areas where the snowpack is shallower are more suspect.  Keep in mind that the snow in the high north aspects went through an entire month with weather conditions ripe for faceting or weakening the snow.  This is longer then we usually see and we should treat it as conditions that we’re not always use to.  Expect the unexpected.


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

The avalanche danger will be on the rise today and through the night.  The avalanche danger starts out at MODERATE for people triggering recent wind drifts as well as slides breaking in to old snow.  Wind drifts are found mostly on easterly facing upper elevation slopes and the areas breaking into older snow are the upper elevation northerly facing slopes.  Avalanches breaking into old snow have very serious consequences.  The danger will most likely rise to CONSIDERABLE as the day progresses and the snow piles up.


Mountain Weather: 

A cold winter storm will start affecting our area this morning with the passage of a weak cold front around mid morning.  A period of cold unstable air should produce good orographic lift producing a good shot of snow today through Thursday morning.  Conditions will be favorable for lake enhancement.  A foot to a foot and a half of snow is expected.  Locally higher amounts wouldn’t be a surprise with cooperation from the lake.  Snow densities will be low.

Wasatch Powderbirds did not fly due to weather on Tuesday.  They will be in Cardiff, Days Silver & Grizzly if weather allows today.


For an avalanche education class list, updated 12/22/07, 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.

will update this advisory by 7:30 on Thursday morning.