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, January 02, 2008 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, January 02, 2008 and its about 7:30 am.

Current Conditions:

Under clear skies, the warming trend continues this morning, with temperatures in the mid 20s to mid 30s once you climb out of the cold valley bottoms. Winds are from a southerly direction, in the 10 to 15 mph range, with the highest peaks averaging 20 to 30 mph. Turning, riding, and snowshoeing conditions continue to be excellent, in settled powder on a supportable base. Only the steep sunny slopes will be crusty this morning, and rapidly go off with todays heating.


Avalanche Discussion:

Only one backcountry avalanche was reported yesterday a 6 foot deep pocket in Dry Fork, triggered by a snowmobiler (click HERE for photo). However, avalanches triggered by explosive control work at the resorts continue to be impressive in upper Big Cottonwood, Little Cottonwood, and on the Park City side of the range. These slides were breaking on a variety of weak layers, including old facets near the ground, and for a change, slides were on southeasterly and southwesterly facing slopes in addition to the more common activity on shady slopes. One major difference between the lack of backcountry activity and the continued avalanche activity with in the resorts seems to be in trigger size.


For today, there are a variety of avalanche concerns. The steep sunny slopes will heat up, and the shady slopes may also get in on the action if we get a consistent layer of high thin clouds that reflect radiation back down onto all aspects. So be alert for roller balls, damp surface snow, cornices becoming more sensitive, and even a few shallow slabs pulling out as the day heats up. Also, continue to avoid wind drifts on steep slopes, which look like waves or pillowy.


And finally, as control work results show, there continue to be isolated places where a person could trigger a deep, dangerous slide breaking near the ground in the Salt Lake and Park City mountains. It would most likely be on a very steep slope, with a thin or rocky snowpack (notice the shallow, rocky flank), at the upper elevations.


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

The avalanche danger is MODERATE on slopes steeper than about 35 degrees, with several potential avalanche problems. Wind drifts and cornices, damp sluffs or soft slabs, and avalanches breaking into older snow layers could be triggered by a person in isolated places. The more dangerous, deep avalanches are more likely on northwest, north and northeast facing slopes above around 9000 feet in elevation. The Western Uintas have a higher avalanche danger.


Mountain Weather:

A final day of high pressure will bring mostly sunny skies with a few high thin clouds drifting through. Balmy temperatures will reach the upper 30s at 8,000 and the mid 30s at 10,000. The southwesterly winds will be light, in the 5 to 15 mph range, with only the highest peaks occasionally gusting to 30 mph. The next major snowfall, Sunday into Monday, will be preceded by very strong southwesterly winds Friday and Saturday, accompanied by small amounts of dense snow.



Yesterday the Wasatch Powderbird Guides in Cardiff, Days, Silver, Grizzly and American Fork. Today they will be in Cardiff, Days, Silver, Grizzly, American Fork and possibly White Pine. For more information, call them at 801-742-2800.


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

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 youre 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.

The UAC depends on contributions from users like you to support our work.  To find out more about how you can support our efforts to continue providing the avalanche forecasting and education that you expect, please visit http://www.avalanche.org/~uac/fuac-welcome.htm

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