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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Saturday, January 26, 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 26, 2008 and its about 7:30 am.


Special Announcement:

We are issuing an Avalanche Watch for Sunday through Monday night for the mountains of Northern Utah and the Western Uintas. A powerful storm with strong winds and heavy snow is expected to create dangerous avalanche conditions Sunday through Monday. Before traveling in the backcountry, check for the latest updates throughout this storm period.


Current Conditions:

Under clearing skies, temperatures are in the low teens this morning. The southwesterly winds have decreased into the 10 to 15 mph range in the Salt Lake and Park City mountains, while the more favored Ogden and Provo mountains still have stations with averages in the 25 to 35 mph range and gusts in the 40s. Some mountain locations picked up a trace to few inches of fluffy snow in the past 24 hours. The shady wind sheltered slopes continue to have some of the best powder money cant buy, while the exposed ridgelines and open terrain has some wind damage. The sunny slopes will range from crusty early to damp as the day heats up.


Avalanche Discussion:

Yesterday, sensitive wind drifts one to two feet deep developed in exposed terrain, mostly confined to higher ridges. The most interesting activity was reported from the Provo area mountains, where the drifts are sitting on NSF

. One wind drift broke out 300 wide, while another was triggered remotely from 50 away. People were still triggering sluffs in steep terrain, though they were harder to get moving than a few days ago.


Today, sensitive winds drifts will once again be the main avalanche concern, especially where the drifts are sitting on weak faceted snow. These drifts deposited on surface hoar or near surface facets could break out wider than expected and possibly from a distance. Any of the one to two foot deep drifts will take you for a ride, and should be carefully avoided on steep slopes. Cornices are also sensitive and breaking back further than expected. In your travels today, carefully examine the weak layers in the upper two feet of the snowpack with quick hand pits. Everyone is intensely interested in the distribution of these upper pack weak layers, as they have the potential to create a larger, deeper slides and a more complex and persistent avalanche cycle with the expected strong storm. (Recent snow profiles)


Also, it is still possible to trigger loose snow sluffs on steep shady slopes, especially those approaching 40 degrees or steeper. These sluffs are large enough to catch and carry a person in steep terrain. As the day heats up it may become possible to trigger damp sluffs on steep, sunny slopes.

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

The avalanche danger is MODERATE on steep slopes with recent deposits of wind drifted snow. These will be most widespread along the higher ridgelines, on northwest through northeasterly facing slopes, but be alert for drifts cross loaded onto other aspects, off ridgelines and in open bowls. Out of the wind affected terrain and on slopes less steep then 35 degrees the danger is LOW., though it is still possible to trigger sluffs on very steep slopes.


Mountain Weather:

Today will be delightful as a short-lived ridge of high pressure builds over northern Utah. Skies will be mostly sunny, with temperatures warming to near 30 at 8,000 and into the low 20s at 10,000. The southwesterly winds will generally be in the 10 to 20 mph range, with exposed terrain favored by the flow having averages in the 20 to 30 mph range. As the ridge shifts east tonight, both clouds and winds will increase ahead of a powerful storm that will affect northern Utah Sunday through Monday night. This storm will bring periods of heavy snow, strong winds with widfespread snow totals of 2 to 3 feet.

Wasatch Powderbird Guides did not fly. Today, if weather allows, theyll 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.

Brett Kobernik will update this advisory by 7:30 on Sunday morning.