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


Monday, January 07, 2008  7:30 am
Good morning, this is Drew Hardesty with the Forest Service Utah Avalanche Center with your backcountry avalanche and mountain weather advisory.  Today is Monday, January 07, 2008 and it’s about 7:30 am. 


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Current Conditions:

Under partly cloudy skies, temperatures have plummeted to the single digits at most mountain locations.  Winds are light and westerly.  The Park City and Provo mountains picked up 8” during the day yesterday with the Cottonwoods receiving 13-15” of 8-9% density snow.  Riding conditions are excellent on all aspects.


Avalanche Discussion:

The few folks that checked in with us from yesterday’s backcountry outing stayed in mostly low angle terrain, and we didn’t hear about any significant avalanches outside of the rope lines.  Inside the boundaries, however, avalanche control teams both in the Park City areas and Cottonwoods continue to initiate large hard slab avalanches, with some going to the ground up to 10’ deep.  Many of these are being initiated with only 2lb shots or air-blasts, indicating how ripe the snow is for avalanching after being pummeled with 3-4” of water weight from this last storm.  Ski cuts easily mitigated the sensitive new wind drifts formed from the afternoon’s gusty westerly winds.


We have a number of issues in the backcountry.  Expect to find some remnant wind drifts in the higher lee terrain that may still be sensitive to the weight of a person.  These are more likely to be found on northeast through southeast facing slopes as well as any steep cross-loaded gullies.  Graupel pooling at the bases of cliffs and along the transition zones from steep to well, less-steep, may still be sensitive as well.  These aren’t necessarily aspect dependent, though more graupel has been found on the windward side of the range due to orographic lift.  Lastly, it will still be possible to trigger a slide into old snow, particularly in steep, thin rocky areas or shallower areas that had previously been eroded or scoured. 


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

There will be pockets of CONSIDERABLE danger for human triggered avalanches on slopes steeper than 35 degrees.  The complexity of the snowpack coupled with recent avalanche activity requires caution and humility while traveling through avalanche terrain.  Safe travel protocol needs to be followed as consequences may be severe.


Mountain Weather: 

We’ll see increasing clouds with a few additional inches possible overnight.  Winds will be light and westerly.  Temps will be in the low 20’s at 8000’ and the single digits at 10,000’.  Tuesday starts the cycle of increasing southwest flow ahead of a potent-looking storm.  A foot or more is likely by late Wednesday.  Continued unsettled weather persists through the week, with a ridge building for mid-month.


The Wasatch Powderbird Guides did not fly yesterday, but today will be operating in American Fork canyon.  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 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.

Brett Kobernik will update this advisory by 7:30 on Tuesday morning.