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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Sunday, March 23, 2008  7:30 am
Good morning, this is Drew Hardesty with the Forest Service Utah Avalanche Center with your backcountry avalanche and mountain weather advisory.  Today is Sunday, March 23, 2008 and it’s about 7:30 am. 


Current Conditions:

Should be a carbon copy of yesterday with more crystalline skies, light west to northwest winds and warm spring-like temperatures.  Temps dipped to the mid to low teens overnight, ensuring a good, solid refreeze of what’s shaping up to be a good corn cycle.  The sheltered due norths still hold excellent soft settled powder with alternating areas of scoured coral and pockets of shallow wind slab in the more exposed terrain.  It’ll be another day to break some ground into uncharted territory.


Snow and Avalanche Discussion:

Wet and dry sluffs comprised some of the news from the backcountry yesterday with a few notable exceptions and close calls.  A groaning-from-the-heat cornice surprised a backcountry party in the Ogden mountains as it broke 8’ back from the lip and 40’ wide.  The boxcar ran 1000’ down the slope and managed to trigger a very small soft slab on the first bounce.  We also heard about a sluff in lower Hogum Fork of LCC that pulled out a 1-2’ deep and 30’ wide pocket on a steep northeast facing slope at 7000’.  I suspect it was a localized pocket of faceted snow or a graupel pool from a couple weeks ago.  The avalanche path is well-observed while driving down canyon, but rarely, if ever sees any tracks.  Lastly, skiers in high northerly terrain above LCC kicked off a couple shallow soft slabs, but these were mostly harmless.  Again, snowpack dictates your terrain, and terrain dictates your consequences. 


Overall, conditions in the Wasatch are pretty benign.  If you’re looking to tour in the Uintas or the Logan area mountains, check out their recent significant avalanche activity here.  It’s a different ballgame in these outlying areas.


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

The avalanche danger is generally LOW this morning.  There are a few areas in the upper elevations that have minor pockets with a MODERATE avalanche danger where you may still initiate sluffing and small soft slabs in the high northerly terrain.  The avalanche danger will again rise to MODERATE on the southerly aspects as well as north at lower elevations with daytime heating.  If you’re too late in the day, watch for easy to initiate wet sluffs running on every turn or cut across a slope. 

Mountain Weather:

Warming temps will push daytime highs to the low 40’s at 8000’ and low 30’s at 10,000’.  Winds will be generally light from the west to northwest.  Starting tomorrow, a series of disturbances to the north will flatten the ridge putting us into a more zonal, westerly weather pattern.  The Logan area mountains may see a shot of snow on Tuesday, but it looks like we’ll have to wait until late Wednesday for any sort of potential significant accumulation.  It looks like a good cold front crashes through, dropping temps back into the single digits. 


The Wasatch Powderbird Guides flew in Cardiff and Mineral and along the Cascade Ridgeline.  Today they’ll be in American Fork with a home run out White Pine, and another ship in Cascade.  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.

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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.

I will update this advisory by 7:30 on Monday morning.