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


Friday, February 15, 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 Friday, February 15, 2008 and it’s about 7:30 am. 


Current Conditions:

Ah, how spoiled we are here in the Wasatch.  Not that many people were complaining but most backcountry observations reported the foot of new snow not quite up to our high standards as far as riding conditions with a slightly upside down feel as well as sun and wind crusts felt under the new snow.  I know, poor babies!  The floatation index was a bit low.  A day or so of settlement should improve conditions a bit.  Easterly winds also did some damage in the form of upslope drifting.  Winds slowed and are light from the northeast with ridgetop temperatures in the single digits this morning.


Snow and Avalanche Discussion:

Fresh wind slabs and drifts were not overly sensitive on Thursday but one skier triggered a small pocket in Toledo Chute which is southeast facing.  Some skiers were able to get a couple of small pockets to release in the backcountry near Powder Mountain where the wind blew harder then in the Central Wasatch during Thursday.  There were also two wet loose slides triggered by skiers on south facing Reynolds later in the day initiated intentionally with slope cuts on steep breakovers.  These ran a fair distance and packed a bit of a punch once they neared the bottom.  There was some cracking within the new snow which was more prevalent in areas with the most snow and most exposure to the winds.  This instability settled out as the day progressed.


Clear skies today will affect the new snow on sun exposed southerly slopes.  A number of south facing slopes heated up on Thursday and refroze overnight which will make them more stubborn today.  A few people noted that not all southerly facing slopes heated up.  These slopes will be the most sensitive today.  Watch where you are as the day progresses on the southerly aspects.


Although drifts and slabs produced by the recent wind event seem to be mostly stable it’s still worth a mention for today.  The easterly winds are not the normal for us so just make sure you’re taking this into account.  You may find odd drifts in areas you don’t usually see.  Stomp or ride on pillows in safe areas to see if they’re sensitive.


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

The avalanche danger is generally LOW this morning.  You may still find a few pockets where a fresh drift may release in wind affected areas which puts the danger into the MODERATE category.  The danger may rise to MODERATE on southerly facing slopes with daytime heating.


Mountain Weather:

Clear skies, light northeast winds and temperatures in the mid to upper 20s are in store for today.  A northwesterly flow will affect us over the weekend with a few disturbances to our northeast which will produce some clouds and the possibility for a few flakes in the northern portion of the state.  High pressure is in store for Monday and Tuesday bringing mild temperatures then the possibility for a few storms later in the week.


Wasatch Powderbird Guides flew in Mineral, Cardiff, Days, Silver, Grizzly and American Fork on Thursday.  Today they’ll be in Mineral, Cardiff, Days, Silver, Grizzly, White Pine, American Fork, and Cascade.  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).

Watch video tututorials and fieldwork from UAC staff at our YouTube channel.

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.

Evelyn Lees will update this advisory by 7:30 on Saturday morning.