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, January 03, 2008  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, January 03, 2008 and it’s about 7:30 am.

Current Conditions:

You should enjoy the snow while you can today because we have a huge wind storm coming in Friday night and Saturday.  Yesterday, with temperatures near 40 in the mountains yesterday and just under freezing this morning, the south facing slopes have a sun crust on them.  Southerly winds yesterday created some localized wind damage along the ridges.  The non-sun and wind affected snow is dense, creamy and supportable.


Avalanche Discussion:

Although there were no human triggered avalanches in the backcountry yesterday, there continues to be some scary explosives-released avalanches from the resorts. For instance, in Little Cottonwood Canyon yesterday, an avalanche released sympathetically 200 feet away from an avalauncher shot.  It broke 2’ deep, 150’ wide on a E-NE facing slope at 10,500’ on a layer of mid-pack faceted snow that formed during the past month.  There was a similar result from the Ogden area mountains and in the Logan area mountains, there was some releases on faceted snow down low near the road on faceted snow (PHOTOS).  Yesterday, I investigated some of the large, scary avalanches that occurred in Little Cottonwood Canyon two days ago (PHOTOS).  We are seeing a new pattern of avalanches releasing onto faceted snow even on south, southeast and southwest facing slopes, which is very different than what we were seeing just a week or two ago.  The cold temperatures during December have created faceted snow both mid pack and near the ground that did not exist earlier in the season.  In other words, although these deep monsters are hard for people to trigger, they are huge and hard to survive, plus they exist in unusual places that we have not seen them just a week or two ago.

Today you will also need to watch for wind slabs along the upper elevation ridges created from 25 mph southwest winds yesterday and they will continue to build today.

Finally, the most important news: we have a very strong storm for Friday night in to Saturday, which will bring 50-60 mph southwest winds, rain at lower elevations and dense snow at higher elevations.  Expect an avalanche warning and wild weather for Saturday. 


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

The avalanche danger remains MODERATE on slopes steeper than about 35 degrees, with several potential avalanche problems.  You will find wind drifts and cornices, along upper elevation ridges, damp sluffs on south facing slopes, and the isolated potential of deeper, larger avalanches at many aspects and elevations, especially in thinner snowpack areas. The Western Uintas have a Considerable avalanche danger.


Mountain Weather: 

Today should be warm again with temperatures near freezing, high clouds and ridge top winds around 25 from the southwest. On Friday, we will have increasing ridge top winds and light showers.  Friday night and Saturday ridge top winds will be nuking from the southwest at speeds of 50-60 with much higher gusts.  We will likely get a foot or more of dense snow at upper elevations with rain below about 7,000’.  By Saturday night, temperatures will drop into the teens and winds will drop.

Then we have another pulse on Sunday and Monday and yet another on Wednesday, but both of these disturbances will have much less wind.


Yesterday the Wasatch Powderbird Guides in Days, Silver, Grizzly and American Fork.  Today they will be in Cardiff, Days, Silver, Grizzly, American Fork.  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 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 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

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. Evelyn Lees will update this advisory by 7:30 on Friday morning.