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 20, 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 20, 2008 and it’s about 7:30 am. 


Current Conditions:

Under cloudy skies, temperatures continue their upward trend, and are now in the upper teens and low twenties at most locations.  Ahead of this next potent looking storm, the winds have backed to the southwest and have, along the more exposed ridgelines, increased into the 30-35mph range with intermittent gusts to 50.  Skiing and riding conditions remain very good in the more sheltered areas, with variable wind and sun damage in the high and sunny terrain.


Avalanche Discussion:

Sluffing in the weak, low density snow continues to be the only game in town.  Many heading into the highest, more committing terrain are finding shallow hard slabs in the starting zones, but they seem to be pretty welded into place. 


With a deep slab problem that pretty well healed and no current major mid-pack instabilities, it’ll be critical to keep tabs on the snow surface conditions ahead of tonight’s storm.  Temperatures support some weakening of the snow surface, though I’ve found them slow to ‘square-off’.  Surface hoar blankets some localized sheltered areas, and any new snow coming in typically bonds poorly to these and any hard, polished wind features in the high starting zones.  I anticipate most activity to be along the new/old snow interface and within the storm snow for tomorrow. 


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

The avalanche danger is mostly LOW.  Pockets of MODERATE exist for the continued sluffing in the steepest terrain and for new drifting with today’s winds.  While probability and size expectations for avalanching is minimal, don’t forget you alone hold the terrain card regarding consequences.  Those on the dusk patrol should watch for changing conditions if we get more snow than expected this afternoon. 


Mountain Weather:

Shaping up to be a good producer for most mountain locations with an average of 12-16” expected by late tomorrow.  The heaviest snowfall is expected overnight into early tomorrow.  For today, we can expect some flurries, moderate to strong southwesterly winds, and 8000’ and 10,000’ temps in the mid twenties and upper teens.  The week looks somewhat unsettled with another shot of snow on Friday.


Wasatch Powderbird Guides
flew in Days Fork and Lambs canyon yesterday.  Today they’ll be in American Fork and the Bountiful Sessions.  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.  Details can be found at http://www.avarides.com/


Backcountry Awareness Week is February 8-10th, featuring a Friday night fundraising dinner with guest speaker David Oliver Relin, author of the New York Times bestseller (50 weeks and counting) Three Cups of Tea: One Man's Mission to Promote Peace...One School at a Time and avalanche awareness clinics on Saturday and Sunday, all held at Snowbird.  For more information, call 933-2147 or go to http://www.avalanche.org/~uac/fuac-events.htm.

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 see any avalanches or interesting snow conditions, please leave us 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.