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.

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Friday, January 18, 2008  7:30 am
Good morning, this is Brett Kobernik with the Forest Service Utah Avalanche Center with your backcountry avalanche and mountain weather advisory.  Today is Friday, January 18, 2008 and it’s about 7:30 am. 


Current Conditions:

It’s slightly warmer this morning then yesterday morning with temperatures just above zero to around 10 degrees.  Gusty north winds blew in the 40 to 50 mph range along the higher ridges on Thursday but did not get into lower terrain a whole lot.  Light snowfall only produced minor amounts.  Upper elevation terrain is wind affected with crusts and slabs while sheltered terrain holds soft settled powder.


Avalanche Discussion:

No significant avalanche activity was reported from Thursday but a number of people did note some weakness in the upper portion of the snowpack.  (SNOWPITS)  A few pockets pulled out with slope cuts in the 4 to 6 inch deep range.  (PHOTO)  Shear tests revealed this weakness and visible clues include minor cracking while traveling.  This weakness is more pronounced at the upper elevations in wind affected terrain.  I noted that it was present even on the windward slopes.  Cornices were forming along the south facing slopes.  They were hard and stubborn but would crack if provoked.


For today, weakness in the wind affected terrain will be the main concern.  These pockets haven’t posed much threat but you may find some areas where they are big enough to ruin your day.  Once you start to encounter stiffer feeling snow you should start really paying attention.  Jump on test slopes to see if they crack.  The use of slope cuts is another effective tool. 


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

There is a “pockety” MODERATE avalanche danger on steep slopes with recent drifts of wind blown snow.  All aspects at the upper elevation should be examined closely.  Out of the wind affected terrain the avalanche danger is generally LOW.


Mountain Weather:

Temperatures will be a bit warmer today with highs around 20 at 8000 feet and in the teens along the upper ridges.  North winds will again be a bit gusty up high picking up slightly this morning then slowing again later today.  We’ll have cloudy skies with light snow not adding up to much.  Things cool into the single digits again tonight.  Saturday will be even slightly warmer then today with winds shifting more to the northwest and cloudy skies with light snow possible.  A storm is shaping up for late Saturday through Sunday which will bring the next good chance for snow.  The system will cut off from the main jet and become a closed low and may affect the area through Tuesday.

For information on the schedule of the Wasatch Powerbird Guides, call them at 801-742-2800, or go to their daily blog.

On Thursday, January 24th, there will be a panel discussion on risk and decision making in outdoor activities, which should be very interesting.  It will be at the Salt Lake Downtown Library at 7:00 pm and it will also be broadcast on KCPW.

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

If you want to get this avalanche advisory e-mailed to you daily click

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).

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.

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.

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