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.

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Thursday, February 21, 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 21, 2008 and its about 7:30 am.


Current Conditions:

We got just a skiff to an inch of snow overnight from low elevation clouds coming in from the west. Ridge top winds remain very light with ridge top temperatures around 20 degrees. The old snow is very worn out with sun and wind crusts on most slopes with the exception of 4 inches of nice, creamy, faceted snow on the wind and sun-sheltered, north facing slopes. All the popular backcountry slopes are completely tracked out so you will have to be creative for another day until we get a freshening up on Friday.

Snow and Avalanche Discussion:

It was another quite day in Lake Wobegone with mostly low avalanche danger. The only exception was that the warm temperatures and thin, low elevation clouds broke up the inversion layer just enough to make low the elevation temperature rise dramatically. This caused rollerballs and damp sluffs below 7,000. Some steep slopes released sluffs and we may get a little more of that today. Today is probably not a good day to play on steep slopes in the foothills or lower canyons and you should be cautious about where you walk your dog or stop for a rest.

Although it will not be a problem today, with significant storms in the forecast, we need to start thinking about future avalanches. The north facing slopes especially at mid elevations have a very weak layer of faceted snow on the surface. Any significant load of new snow or wind blown snow may overload this weak, sugary snow. The expected snow on Friday will probably not weigh enough to overload this layer but the strong storm on Sunday night will definitely push it over the edge. From what weve seen this weak, surface snow is quite widespread on northwest through northeast facing slopes between about 7,000 and 10,000.


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

The avalanche danger is generally LOW, with only isolated places where a person could trigger a slide. There are pockets of MODERATE danger below 7,000 as steep slopes warm up and produce damp sluffs and rollerballs.


Mountain Weather:

We should pile up a mighty 1-3 inches of snow during the day as low elevation clouds come in from the west. Ridge top winds will remain nearly nonexistent with ridge top temperatures in the mid 20s and 8,000 temperatures around freezing. Unfortunately, its not enough of a storm to break up the smoggy inversion in the valleys but its enough to at least warm up the boundary layer. Below 7,000 the inversion will weaken enough to make the low elevation snow damp.

Friday we will finally get enough of a storm to freshen things up with perhaps 6-10 inches of snow. We will likely get another weak pulse on Saturday but then we should get a stronger storm on Sunday through Tuesday. This storm looks to be very warm on Sunday with extremely strong southerly winds and a very strong cold front on Sunday night. Stay tuned.


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


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).

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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.