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


Friday, January 25, 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 25, 2008 and it’s about 7:30 am. 


Current Conditions:

The winds picked up a bit on Thursday from the south which did transport some snow at many locations.  Afternoon and overnight snow showers produced 3 to 6 inches of new snow.  Under partly cloudy skies over the last few hours ridgetop temperatures have been in the teens with ridgetop winds increasing since yesterday afternoon from the south averaging 10 to 15 mph gusting into the 40s at the more exposed locations.


Avalanche Discussion:

There was one avalanche reported from Ogden Canyon that partially blocked the road Thursday morning.  We don’t have much information on this but suspect it was a natural loose snow avalanche coming off a steep north facing slope just above the road.  A number of people reported shallow soft and hard slabs that would crack out with slope cuts from winds on Thursday (PHOTO).  A few were reported up to 2 feet deep in terrain more exposed to the wind.  Many people are noting weak snow on the surface that continues to produce sluffing on the steeper slopes also.  Winds on Thursday capped off this weak snow in a number of areas while in other areas it is now buried with a few inches of new snow. 


Today and Saturday will be excellent days to play “avalanche detective” and sleuth around to analyze this layer as a potential weakness for the forecasted strong storm on Sunday.  What you’ll be looking for are widespread areas with weak loose grainy snow a few inches down from the surface or on the surface.  Look to see if this is present in the starting zones.  If this gets preserved it could cause problems.  In areas with fresh drifts, do some shear tests to see if they fail on the weak underlying snow. 


For today shallow fresh wind drifts will be the focus.  Look for these mainly on the northerly side of the upper elevation ridges but remember that mountainous terrain channels wind in many directions and may load other aspects as well.  Watch for crossloading as well as slabs on the windward side.  These probably won’t be real big or have much potential to bury a person but you could get knocked down or take a ride if you get caught by surprise.


We need to continue to watch out for loose snow avalanches or sluffing today as well.  You need a slope approaching 40 degrees in steepness to have these run.  The loose snow on the surface can pile up fairly deep if it gets a chance to run more then a short distance.


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

The avalanche danger is MODERATE for fresh drifts of wind blown snow.  You will find these along the upper ridgelines and will need slope over 35 degrees to get them to avalanche.  Be aware of sluffing or loose snow slides at all elevations and mainly on west through north through east facing slopes.  Out of the wind affected terrain and on slopes less steep then 35 degrees the danger is LOW.


Mountain Weather:

Today we’ll see partly cloudy skies with snow showers possibly laying down a few inches of snow.  Winds will blow a bit again today with moderate speeds from the southwest.  Expect ridgetop averages in the 10 to 15 mph range with gustier conditions along the highest peaks.  Ridgetop temperatures will be in the upper teens to mid 20s.  High pressure will produce a beautiful day on Saturday with slightly warmer temperatures then a stronger storm still on track for Sunday into Monday with a pretty good amount of snow expected and windy conditions.


Wasatch Powderbird Guides did not fly and are unlikely to fly today.  If weather allows they’ll 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.

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 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.

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