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 28, 2008  7:30 am
Good morning, this is Evelyn Lees with the Forest Service Utah Avalanche Center with your backcountry avalanche and mountain weather advisory.  Today is Thursday, February 28, 2008 and it’s about 7:30 am. 


Current Conditions:

After a cloudy night, skies have cleared this morning, and temperatures are in the low to mid 20’s at most elevations, with a few 30’s in the Ogden and Provo area mountains.  There was a small wind event last night as the winds shifted from the southwest to the northwest, with the high ridgelines averaging 25 to 35 mph, with gusts to 45.  Currently, winds are from the northwest, and should decrease rapidly this morning.  Powder seekers will find the wedge of dry snow rapidly shrinking, limited to mid and upper elevation northerly and northeasterly facing slopes, and to tight shady drainages.  The surface refreeze on the sunny slopes will be shallow and very short lived this morning. 


Snow and Avalanche Discussion:

Avalanche reports from the backcountry yesterday were well rounded – a few natural wet slabs and sluffs; one collapse on a southeast facing slope; a wind slab triggered in upper Bonkers, 30' across x 4' deep, that only moved short distance; and a few dry sluffs and shallow wind slabs, the largest a 35' wide soft slab running 600 vertical feet on a steep north facing slope in Argenta. 


With another day of full force sun and warm temperatures, heat related avalanche activity will once again be the number one concern.  This morning’s hard crusts may be very thin with wet snow beneath, and could be triggered while still supportable.  Sunny slopes will heat up rapidly today, and once wet sluffs get moving, they could entrain a lot of snow, packing a punch.  Low to mid elevation northerly facing slopes are also getting damp and could sluff.   Heating has made cornices sensitive, and they could break back further than expected.  Timing is everything, and to quote one of the Provo forecasters “the only way to avoid these wet slides is to just not be there.”


Last night’s wind event created a few more wind drifts along the highest ridgelines and in exposed upper elevation terrain.  Avoid any drifts of wind blown snow on steep slopes, which could be especially sensitive where they are sitting on the surface hoar and near surface facets that formed over the past few nights.


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

The avalanche danger will follow the sun - rapidly increasing to MODERATE with pockets of CONSIDERABLE on and below steep sunny slopes.  First on east facing, then south, and finally north and northwest facing, easily triggered wet sluffs and wet slabs will be possible.  The mid and upper elevation shady slopes have a generally a LOW danger, with pockets of MODERATE for new wind drifts and continued sluffing of the surface snow.  These avalanche problems are mostly manageable with a combination of good timing, careful slope cuts, and attention to location and consequences.


Mountain Weather:

With high pressure in control, skies will be clear today, and temperatures rapidly warm into the low 40’s at 8,000’ and to near freezing at 10,000’.  The northwesterly winds will diminish into the 5 to 15 mph range by midday.  Friday will be a weather copy cat, only a bit warmer and calmer.  Two small storms are in the forecast, one for Saturday and another on Tuesday.


Wasatch Powderbird Guides flew yesterday in Mineral, Cardiff, White Pine and Cascade. Today they will be in Mineral, Cardiff, Days, Silver, Grizzly, White Pine, Cascade and American Fork.  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).

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.

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