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


Saturday, January 05, 2008  11:30 am
Good morning, this is Brett Kobernik with the Forest Service Utah Avalanche Center with your backcountry avalanche and mountain weather advisory.  Today is Saturday, January 05, 2008 and it’s about 7:30 am.

Avalanche Watch:

An avalanche watch continues for the Ogden, Salt Lake, Park City, and Provo area mountains.  Strong winds combined with new snow containing a large amount of water weight has elevated the avalanche danger to HIGH in the upper Cottonwood Canyons.  Continued snowfall through around 1pm will continue to elevate the avalanche danger in all these areas with the danger reaching HIGH in the Ogden, Park City and Provo area mountains as well.  Avalanches may break into preexisting snow on a variety of aspects.  Many of these avalanches have the potential to be large and unsurvivable.  People without expert level avalanche and snowpack assessment skills are urged to stay out of the backcountry. 


Current Conditions:

Strong southerly winds continued on cue during the day on Friday as well as overnight.  Averages in the 50s and 60s with gusts around 100 mph were common on the most exposed peaks.  Temperatures remained warm overnight with the snow level hovering in the 7000 foot range but now dropping.  The fire hose was pointed strait at the upper Cottonwoods overnight with snow totals of around a foot of graupel which measures near 30 percent density.  The Ogden area is coming on now with upwards of an inch of water in around 8 inches of snow.  It sounds like the Logan area has picked up about a foot of snow and the Provo area with only a few inches but up to around a half inch of water.


Avalanche Discussion:

The storm is producing a variety of avalanche concerns today all basically due to the new snow and water totals.  First, the winds will have drifted the new snow into some large new drifts that may be currently releasing naturally and most definitely shouldn’t be toyed with by people.  The drifting snow has also added a large amount of weight to the snowpack on the lee sides which could potentially overload the snowpack and release avalanches that break into older snow on a variety of aspects.  Also, with the rain on snow at the lower elevations, any steep slope or terrain trap should be avoided because of potential wet avalanche activity there.


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

The avalanche danger has either reached HIGH or will do so this morning with additional snow.  Stay out from underneath any steep slope today.  Avoid terrain traps such as gully bottoms.  Again, people without expert level avalanche and snowpack assessment skills should seriously consider avoiding the backcountry.


Mountain Weather: 

Unstable air with good orographic lift should keep snow falling through 1 pm this afternoon.  Densities should start to lighten up.  Snowfall rates may not be as heavy as we saw this morning.  The worst of the winds should be over but will continue in the 20 to 30 mph range along the ridges from a westerly direction.  Temperatures should drop into the low 20s.  We’ll see a break this afternoon then another round of snow for Sunday.


Wasatch Powderbird Guides did not fly yesterday, and will not be flying today due to high winds.  For more information, call them at 801-742-2800.

Solitude’s beacon park is now up and running, and ready for use.  It’s FREE and located just off the northwest corner of the lower lot.


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. Drew Hardesty will update this advisory by 7:30 on Saturday morning.