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


Thursday, February 07, 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 Thursday, February 07, 2008 and it’s about 7:30 am. 


I have issued a Special Avalanche Advisory today for the mountains of northern Utah.  Expected high winds, dense snow and warmer temperatures will create a HIGH avalanche danger on most slopes.

Little Cottonwood Canyon was closed overnight and they will do avalanche control this morning and try to reopen.


Current Conditions:

Strong northwest winds at upper elevations yesterday and last night caused quite a bit of wind damage but in wind sheltered areas about 10 inches of very light powder remained on somewhat denser underlying snow.  (VIDEO of yesterday’s field work)
Winds died down quite a bit this morning and temperatures remain cold—around 5 degrees but all this will change in a hurry today because I’m expecting much warmer temperatures and strong winds and a foot of snow today.

Snow and Avalanche Discussion:

Several natural avalanches occurred yesterday because of the strong northwest winds.  Two slides occurred in Little Cottonwood Canyon on the south facing slopes and one occurred in Provo Canyon in similar terrain.  None of these slides hit the road.  This morning at 1:30 am, White Pine in Little Cottonwood Canyon ran naturally, depositing up to 10 feet of debris on the road.  The road was closed overnight and they will try to do avalanche control this morning and reopen.

We have a vigorous storm arriving today with very strong westerly winds expected to blow 60 mph, gusting to 80, in the higher terrain, plus rapidly rising temperatures and denser snow, which will all slam down on top of the very light, foofy snow from yesterday morning.  It doesn’t take an avalanche scientist to see that it adds up to trouble.   Yesterday’s wind slabs existed on more localized terrain but today’s storm will create widespread areas of sensitive, soft slab avalanches at a variety of aspects and elevations.


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

The avalanche danger is CONSIDERABLE and will rise to HIGH by about mid day with the arrival of the storm.  Backcountry travelers should avoid crossing, or crossing underneath, any slope approaching 35 degrees or steeper.  This danger may occur on most all aspects and elevations including the foothills.  Human triggered and natural avalanches, especially in wind affected terrain are likely.

Mountain Weather:

A strong storm will impact northern Utah by mid day with very strong westerly winds 60 mph, gusting to 80 along the higher terrain. Since these winds are from the west, they will impact most of the terrain regardless of aspect and elevation.  Temperatures will rise rapidly and we will get about a foot of denser snow, most coming before midnight.   Temperatures will rise from around 5 degrees this morning to the mid 20’s this afternoon.  Then this evening, we should get a cold front, which will drop temperatures back into the single digits again.  Alta Forecast Graph.

The extended outlook calls for breezy and cloudy on Friday with warm and sunny for the weekend.


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.  It’s a benefit for the Utah Avalanche Center.  Click HERE for more information or you can call 933 2147 for tickets.


Yesterday, Wasatch Powderbird Guides did not fly due to weather and whey will not get out today. For more detailed information please call (801) 742-2800 or go to their daily blog.

Backcountry Awareness Week is starts Friday, featuring the aforementioned, fundraising as well as 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.

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