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


Saturday, February 09, 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 Saturday, February 09, 2008 and it’s about 7:30 am. 


Thanks to everyone who attended the backcountry awareness dinner at Snowbird last night.  The benefit for the Utah Avalanche Center was a success and I hope everyone enjoyed the evening.


Surprisingly there are still a few slots left for our 3 day avalanche workshop scheduled for next weekend.  Contact the Black Diamond retail store to sign up, this is sure to fill soon.


Current Conditions:

Winds continued overnight along the higher ridges gusting into the 60s and 70s and also gusting into the 20s along the mid elevation ridges.  Temperatures were in the upper teens at the higher locations and in the mid 20s in the 7 to 8000 foot level.


Snow and Avalanche Discussion:

No significant avalanche activity was reported from the backcountry on Friday however there were crowns and debris visible from the natural avalanche event on Thursday.  UDOT avalanche control work did produce a couple of slab avalanches in Big and Little Cottonwood canyons on Friday (PHOTO1 PHOTO2) but it sounds like not quite as much activity as expected.  There were plenty of reports of upside down and variable snow from Friday.  (Observations)  Most people found the wind slabs that formed over the last few days were stubborn and not reactive.  People could get some larger chunks of cornices to break but they were also stubborn and produced no avalanching upon hitting the slopes below them.  I would note that we didn’t get any reports from people getting into the really exposed upper elevation terrain on Friday where things were still getting loaded and probably a bit more sensitive. 


We have two things to consider today in the backcountry.  If you’re skiing, snowboarding or snowmobiling in the high country you’ll want to continue to watch for lingering wind slabs that may still release with the weight of a person.  These are scattered around on numerous aspects and elevations but more dangerous at higher elevations.


The second concern is warmer temperatures but it looks like they’ll mainly affect lower elevation terrain today.  An abundance of snow along the foothills and mountain valleys this year demands that we adjust our behavior a bit.  Gully bottoms and steep embankments should be avoided today especially if the sun pops out.  Boy Scout leaders should keep scouts out of this terrain today.  People in residential areas that have huge amounts of snow need to be careful of avalanches coming off of their house roofs.  Southerly slopes should be monitored at the higher locations as well today especially during periods of clearing.  If you are in higher terrain and exit out lower elevations don’t forget to watch where you are and avoid terrain traps.


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

The avalanche danger is mostly MODERATE this morning especially in the low and mid elevations.  This means human triggered avalanches are possible.  There are a few pockets with a CONSIDERABLE danger along the more exposed ridgelines where wind loading continues.  Warming temperatures may make the danger rise to CONSIDERABLE at lower elevations as the day progresses.


Mountain Weather:

We’ll see the westerly winds continue this morning before slowing later today.  We’ll see partly cloudy skies with a slight chance of a snow flurry.  Temperatures will reach into the upper 20s at 8000 feet and low 20s at 10,000.  Temperatures will reach near 40 at lower elevations.  Warmer temperatures and more clear skies are in store for Sunday.


Wasatch Powderbird Guides did not fly due to weather and they will be wrestling with the wind this morning. Go online to check their area of operations for today.  For more detailed information please call (801) 742-2800 or go to their daily blog.

Backcountry Awareness Week avalanche safety clinics are being held at Snowbird today and tomorrow. For more information, call 933-2147 or go to http://www.avalanche.org/~uac/fuac-events.htm.


There are a few spots left in the Friends of the Utah Avalanche Center’s Brighton Level 1 Avalanche class, February 16-18.  For more information, call 278-0233.


For folks with an Alta pass, our partner ACE is offering an avalanche awareness class the evening of Feb 12 and 13, and ½ 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.

Drew Hardesty will update this advisory by 7:30 on Sunday morning.