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 14, 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 14, 2008 and it’s about 7:30 am. 


Current Conditions:

The low pressure is spinning just south of Salt Lake City, which is wrapping the flow around from the east and northeast.  Places favored by an easterly flow—such as Park City and Brighton—have close to a foot of snow at the higher elevations while Snowbasin, Little Cottonwood Canyon and the Provo area mountains have 4-6 inches of light density snow.  This should dramatically improve the riding conditions as they have been quite poor for the past several days because of abuse by wind and sun. (Video clip of my field day yesterday – mapping snow surface conditions before a storm comes in.)

Strong easterly winds are blowing in the Ogden area mountains but the Salt Lake mountains have light and variable conditions, mostly north winds.  Ridge top temperatures are 5-10 degrees.


Snow and Avalanche Discussion:

The main thing I’m worried about today is wind.  The winds have already increased in the Ogden area mountains this morning and are blowing 40 gusting to 50 from the northeast and blowing stronger on the highest peaks.  As the low pressure south of Salt Lake moves farther south today, these winds may translate into the Salt Lake, Park City and Provo area mountains as well.  The snow is as light as feathers and it won’t take much wind to blow it into deeper drifts, which a person could easily trigger.  As usual, you need to avoid any steep slope with recent wind deposits, which you will find mostly on the west and south sides of ridges but they could be cross loaded into other terrain as well.  Remember that you can probably also find dangerous, fresh wind drifts from canyon winds even at low elevations.

In areas out of the wind with less than 6 inches of new snow, I suspect that it will bond fairly well to the pre-existing snow.  But as always, you have to watch carefully test the snow as you travel, which is very easy because it’s right on the surface.  Be sure to jump on test slopes, do slope cuts and simply dig down with your hand, cutting out a little square of snow and pulling on it.  Also watch for sluffing of the new snow on steep slopes, especially ones with sun and wind crusts as the underlying snow.


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

The overall avalanche danger is MODERATE today on any slope with recent deposits of wind drifted snow and in places approaching a foot or more of new snow.  If winds become very strong or if you find wind deposits more than a couple feet deep, the danger may be CONSIDERABLE on these slopes.  You may find these wind drifts at all aspects and elevations including the foothills.  In non-wind affected terrain where less than 6 inches of new snow fell, the danger probably remains LOW.  Conditions may vary dramatically from place to place so be sure to test slopes carefully as you travel along. 


Mountain Weather:

Today’s weather will vary dramatically depending on where you are in relation to the low pressure center.  The Ogden area mountains will have light snow showers with strong northeasterly winds, which should decrease through the day.  The Salt Lake, Park City and Provo area mountains will have continued snow showers with 6 more inches today—more on the east side of the range than the west side.  Ridge top winds may come up and blow harder from the northeast later in the day.  Ridge top temperatures will remain cold, 5-10 degrees with 15-20 degrees down at 8,000’.  Snow showers should end by this evening.  Tonight, we should have partly cloudy skies and temperatures near zero.

The next week looks to be mostly warm and sunny but the extended forecast calls for a large storm about a week from today.


Wasatch Powderbird Guides did not fly yesterday because of weather and they will most likely not fly today.  For more detailed information please call (801) 742-2800 or go to their daily blog.


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.


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.