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


Sunday, January 13, 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 Sunday, January 13, 2008 and it’s about 7:30 am. 


Current Conditions:

This latest little disturbance will be enough to produce a couple of inches through the morning, but skies will start to clear by late morning.  Some residual moisture should keep some clouds hanging around, but these may be confined to the lower elevations.  Temperatures are in the mid to upper teens, and winds are generally light from the northwest at all but the most exposed ridgetops.  Coverage, and stability, for that matter, is as good as I’ve seen it in the Ogden and Provo mountains, particularly at the low elevations.  We’ve more than doubled our snowpack in the past month with many areas at 250-300” for the season thus far.  The southerly aspects went off yesterday, and they’ll be crusted under the few inches of new we receive this morning.  Otherwise, skiing and riding conditions continue to be beyond epic. 

Avalanche Discussion:

The only reports of avalanche activity yesterday were within the new snow – sluffs, soft slabs and sensitive, but shallow, soft wind drifts that were easily triggered on steep slopes. 


Watch for continued sluffing in the light density snow on the steeper slopes and any new snow is unlikely to bond to the most recent snow from Friday night.  Along the highest peaks, expect a few lingering wind drifts up to a foot deep to remain ‘trigger-able’ in the steeper terrain as well.  Cornices, too, while not as hair trigger as they have been the past few days, are still to be approached with caution, and are likely to become sensitive again with tomorrow’s rapid warming.  All these issues can be mitigated through ski cuts and good terrain management.  Move from area of safety to area of safety, testing the upper starting zones before you fully commit to them. 


The parade of deep, hard slab avalanches has slowed down this week as the weak facets near the ground become more deeply buried and harder to trigger.  It’s been a week now since the last deep slab was triggered, and it was in an area (Two Dogs of Days Fork) that was a repeater, holding weaker basal faceted snow with a thinner snowpack.  My own party had remotely triggered a hanging pocket in that area, back in early December, when triggering things into October snow was expected. 


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

While most terrain has a LOW avalanche danger, pockets of MODERATE exist for wet and dry sluffing and for recently drifted slopes at the highest elevations.  Isolated areas of MODERATE danger remain with our deep slab problem, found in anomalous regions in high steep rocky terrain. 


Mountain Weather: 

Skies will start to clear by late morning and it should be a beautiful day in the mountains. Winds will blow 15-20mph in exposed terrain as they veer from northwest to northeast.  Temps will be in the upper teens at 10,000’ and mid-twenties at 8000’.  Rapid warming aloft takes place overnight and into tomorrow as ridgetop temp soar to near 30 degrees.  A good cold front races through Tuesday afternoon with a clipper slated for Thursday.

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 our Friends page.


The Wasatch Powderbird Guides flew in American Fork and White Pine yesterday and today will have a ship in Lambs and the Bountiful Sessions, with another ship in American Fork.  For more information, call them at 801-742-2800, or go to their daily blog.

The free avalanche beacon parks are up and running at Solitude, Snowbird and Canyons.  They’re great places to practice by yourself or with friends.


UDOT highway avalanche control work info can be found by calling (801) 975-4838.

Our statewide tollfree line is 1-888-999-4019 (early morning, option 8).

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.

I will update this advisory by 7:30 on Monday morning.