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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Saturday, March 01, 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 Saturday, March 01, 2008 and its about 7:30 am.


Current Conditions:

Skies are partly cloudy this morning, and the southwesterly winds are racing across the peaks. 30 to 45 mph averages are common, with gusts in the 50s and 60s. The strong winds have wiped out the inversion, so temperatures cool with elevation, from the upper 40s at 6,500 down into the low 30s at 11,000. Soft, recrystalized powder exists on sheltered shady slopes, providing enjoyable turning and riding conditions if you can find untracked shots. Short windows of corn like conditions may occur if theres enough sun to soften the supportable crusts.

Snow and Avalanche Discussion:

The only reported avalanche activity Friday was from the Ogden area mountains, where the afternoon shift triggered numerous long running wet sluffs on south and southeast facing terrain south of Snowbasin during a late foray.


Today, fresh drifts created by the strong winds will be the main avalanche concern. While the winds dont have much loose snow to work with, the speeds are high enough that theyll manage to find some snow to blow around. The drifts that build on top of the recrystalized snow and surface hoar on the shady slopes will be the most sensitive. Later this afternoon when the front comes through, the drifts will become deeper and more widespread.


There are also a few heat related concerns today. With the recent warmth, the cornices are slouching like teenagers, and could break back further and more easily than expected. Also, the warm, soggy low elevation snow pack may get a brief shot of rain, so be careful to avoid any of the abundant low elevation terrain traps such as gullies where snow from wet sluffs could pile up. The combination of wind and clouds should keep the steep sunny slopes from heating up, but if you find yourself in a place where the snow is getting wet and sloppy, get off the steep slopes and move to cooler terrain.


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

The avalanche danger is mostly LOW this morning, with a MODERATE danger on any steep slope with drifts of wind blown snow. The wind drifts will become more widespread late this afternoon after it starts to snow. Cornices remain sensitive, and could break back further than expected, and stay off any steep slope where the snow becomes wet and sloppy.


Mountain Weather:

Today there will be alternating bands of clouds and sun ahead of the approaching cold front. Timing for the front is about 2 to 3 pm for the Salt Lake mountains, with areas to the north ahead by and hour or so, and the Provo mountains an hour later. A short burst of intense precipitation and lightning is possible with frontal passage, and storm totals should be in the 4 to 8 inch range. The southwesterly winds will continue to be in the 20 to 30 mph range with gusts in the 50s and 60s at most elevations, and faster across the higher peaks. Temperatures will remain above freezing most of the day, falling behind the front into the low teens by Sunday morning. Partly cloudy on Sunday, with a few snow showers, then rapid warming on Monday ahead of a very weak Tuesday/Wednesday disturbance.


Wasatch Powderbird Guides flew yesterday in White Pine, American Fork, and Cascade Ridge. Today they will not fly due to wind. 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 Sunday morning.