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


Wednesday, February 06, 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 Wednesday, February 06, 2008 and its about 7:30 am.


There are still tickets available for the Backcountry Awareness Dinner at Snowbird this Friday evening, with guest speaker David Oliver Relin, author of the New York Times bestseller Three Cups of Tea. Its a benefit for the Utah Avalanche Center. Click HERE for more information or you can call 933 2147 for tickets.


Current Conditions:

Light snow has started to fall in the mountains as a fast moving cold front sweeps into northern Utah. Ahead of the front, temperatures have bounced up into the teens and low 20s. The westerly winds increased late yesterday afternoon, and many of the 9 to 10,000 stations now have 15 to 25 mph averages, with gusts to 35. The most exposed terrain is clocking speeds of 30 to 35 mph with gusts in the 40s. Yesterday added to the string of remarkable powder days...today, the combination of wind damage and crusted sunny slopes will limit the best snow to wind sheltered, shady terrain.


Snow and Avalanche Discussion:

Though plenty of steep lines were tested, only sluffs were reported from the backcountry yesterday, most short running and slow moving. With explosives, the resorts were able to trigger a few larger new snow soft slabs 1 to 2 deep, large enough to carry and bury a person.


Today, while the new snow wont be enough to fill in old tracks, the winds sure will. The winds will have a heyday, drifting the abundant fluffy snow into sensitive soft slabs. Low density snow and scattered feathery surface hoar will act as the weak layer. Expect the drifts to be most widespread along ridgelines, in open bowls and around terrain features at the high and mid elevations. Though most of these sensitive drifts will be soft, they will get large to knock you off balance, take you for a ride and bury you. Natural or spontaneous slides are possible today as cornices and drifts build up, so also avoid travel below steep wind drifted terrain. In wind sheltered terrain, loose snow sluffs are the greatest concern.


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

The avalanche danger is CONSIDERABLE on and below steep, wind drifted terrain today. CONSIDERABLE means human triggered slides are likely and natural avalanches possible. The sensitive wind drifts will be most widespread on northeast through southeasterly facing slopes, along the mid and upper elevation ridgelines. Out of the wind affected terrain, there is a MODERATE avalanche danger on steep slopes, with human triggered sluffs and shallow soft slabs possible.


Mountain Weather:

Northern Utah is being team tagged with two fast moving storms, the first of which has arrived. Minor snow amounts of 2 to 5 are expected today. The west northwesterly track erasing winds will remain in the 15 to 25 mph range, with gusts into the 30s. At the more exposed locations, winds will increase into the afternoon, reaching averages of 35 to 45 mph, with gusts into the 60s. High temperatures for the day are occurring this morning, and the mercury will drop into the low single digits at 10,000 by afternoon. The second cold front arrives Thursday afternoon, with a small shot of snow and an even bigger dose of wind. Warmer temperatures are in the forecast for the weekend, with a chance for some sunshine.


WPG was in Cardiff, Days, Silver, Grizzly, Toledo, and American Fork. If they can get out today, if they will operate in Silver, Cardiff, Days, Grizzly, Mineral, White Pine, and American Fork. For more detailed information please call (801) 742-2800 or go to their daily blog.

Backcountry Awareness Week is starts Friday, featuring a 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.


For folks with an Alta pass, our partner ACE is offering an avalanche awareness class the evening of Feb 12 and 13, and day the 16th, for $25. Pre Register at [email protected].


If you want to get this avalanche advisory e-mailed to you daily click HERE.
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.

Bruce Tremper will update this advisory by 7:30 on Thursday morning.