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, February 01, 2008  7:30 am
Good morning, this is Bruce Tremper with the Forest Service Utah Avalanche Center with your backcountry avalanche and mountain weather advisory.  Today is Friday, February 01, 2008 and it’s about 7:30 am. 


Special Avalanche Advisory:

Little Cottonwood is closed for avalanche control work this morning but it should reopen soon.  They plan control work in Provo Canyon this morning as well and they will likely close for intermittent control work through the day.  The ice climbing areas are closed today.


Current Conditions:

We’ve have heavy snow overnight with about a foot in the higher elevations with as much as 17 inches at the top of Brighton. We’re expecting perhaps another 6 inches of snow this morning before it slows down to showers by mid day.  Trailbreaking was hard yesterday and it should be nearly impossible today, at least in the higher elevations that got the most snow.  Yesterday and last night, the wind blew fairly hard from the southwest, 20 gusting to 40 on most ridge tops and 35 gusting to 75 on the highest peaks.  (Short video clip from yesterday’s field work) The winds were from the southwest overnight and have shifted to the west and northwest this morning.  Ridge top temperatures have risen from near-zero yesterday morning to the mid teens this morning. 

Snow and Avalanche Discussion:

The main concern today will obviously be the new snow and wind.  With high precipitation rates this morning, you can expect sluffing and some soft slab activity within the new snow especially in higher elevation wind-affected terrain.  The snow should be sensitive to human triggers with some natural avalanches possible this morning.  Although most of the old snow is quite solid, there is still the possibility that some of these new snow avalanches might step down to deeper weak layers, especially old wind slabs from yesterday and last night.


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

The avalanche danger is CONSIDERABLE on slopes approaching 35 degrees or steeper where there is more than about a foot of new snow, especially on slopes with recent deposits of wind drifted snow.  You will find these drifts mostly along the higher ridgelines.  If we get 2 feet of snow or with high precipitation rates the danger may rise to HIGH.  Slopes with less new snow, non-wind drifted slopes and slopes less than about 35 degrees will have a MODERATE danger.


Mountain Weather:

Snow should continue through much of the day with 6 inches of snow this morning before it becomes showery by mid day.  We may get some instability showers this afternoon, which could add even more snow, bringing storm totals close to two feet.  Ridge top winds should slow down and blow at a more reasonable 10-15 mph from the west and northwest with ridge top temperatures in the mid teens.  8,000’ temperatures should be in the lower 20’s.  Skies should be overcast to partly cloudy all day.

For the extended forecast, we should get a welcome break in the action Saturday with partly cloudy skies but another storm on Sunday and Monday and yet another on Wednesday and Thursday.
Alta Forecast Graph   


Wasatch Powderbird Guides got out briefly yesterday and will not fly today due to weather. For more detailed information please call (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 Saturday morning.