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 19, 2008  7:30 am
Good morning, this is Evelyn Lees with the Forest Service Utah Avalanche Center with your backcountry avalanche and mountain weather advisory.  Today is Saturday, January 19, 2008 and it’s about 7:30 am. 


Current Conditions:

Under partly cloudy skies, temperatures remain stuck in the single digits once again this morning, though at least they’re on the plus side of zero.  Winds have been blowing anywhere from the southwest to northwest over the past 12 hours, with speeds of 25 to 35 mph across the highest terrain, and gusts to 50.  Off the higher ridgelines, average speeds have been 10 to 15 mph.  Cold, lazy flakes have been falling on and off for the past 5 days, and have added up to 10 to 12 inches in the Cottonwoods and 3 to 6” in the Park City and Ogden area mountains.  Turning conditions are good in light powder on most aspects and elevations, with some wind damage in open terrain.


Avalanche Discussion:

Most of yesterday’s reported avalanche activity was loose sluffing of surface snow on steep slopes of all elevations.  The odd soft and hard wind drifts were also encountered, though most were shallow, small and not reactive. 


Today’s avalanche concerns include sluffing of the surface snow on steep slopes of all aspects and elevation.  These sluffs are running fast and far in continuously steep terrain, and they are large enough to knock you off your feet or over a cliff.  Also, avoid any fresh drifts of wind blown snow that may have formed yesterday afternoon and overnight at the higher elevations.  These are also large enough to take a person for a ride. 


With a storm approaching, observe the upper layers of the snowpack – there is a mix of near surface facets, weak low density snow and localized slopes with sun, rime and rain crusts buried up to 1/2 meter deep, which could produce an interesting avalanche pattern when loaded.


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

There are pockets of MODERATE avalanche danger on steep slopes with recent drifts of wind blown snow and on steep slopes for fast moving sluffs that are now large enough to knock you off your feet.  Out of the wind affected terrain and on slopes less steep than about 35 degrees, the avalanche danger is generally LOW.  Notes: If you are heading out on a more remote adventure this weekend, the avalanche danger is probably a notch higher in the outlying areas we don’t forecast for and terrain above about 11,000’ in general.  Also, with snow in the forecast, there will be an increasing avalanche danger late Sunday into Monday. 


Mountain Weather:

This morning’s clouds should break up about midday, and temperatures warm as the winds shift to the west ahead of the next storm.  8,000’ highs will feel balmy as they approach 30 degrees today, and 10,000’ temperatures will be inching towards 20.  The northwest to westerly winds will be in the 5 to 15 mph range at most elevations, and the gusty upper elevation winds should gradually decrease.   A rather complicated storm will bring snow starting midday tomorrow, with the heaviest snow Sunday night into midday Monday.  Cold temperatures will follow the storm, with highs dropping back down into the single digits for most of next week.

Wasatch Powderbird Guides
did not fly on Friday due to weather, and if the weather allows today they will be in Mineral, Cardiff, Days, Silver, Grizzly and American Fork.  For more information, 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 second annual avalanche awareness snowmobile ride is Saturday, February 2nd and proceeds will help support snowmobile specific avalanche awareness projects.  Detains can be found at http://www.avarides.com/


The free avalanche beacon parks are up and running at Solitude, Snowbird and the Canyons.  They’re great places to practice alone 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.

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