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 29, 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 29, 2008 and its about 7:30 am.


Current Conditions:

There is a cold front on our doorstep, and the southwesterly winds have been gusting into the 40s and 50s overnight, with many stations having average speeds of 20 to 30 mph. Temperatures stayed warm overnight and are currently in the mid to upper 20s, with some of the lower elevation still in the 30s. The little bit of new snow from Thursday improved conditions more than one would expect, especially out of the high traffic areas where it fell on a smoother old snow surface, and todays new snow should freshen up the riding and snowshoeing conditions once again.


Snow and Avalanche Discussion:

The combination of new snow and gusty southwesterly and westerly winds will be creating the main avalanche concern for today sensitive new wind drifts that could crack out and slide under the weight of a person on slopes steeper than about 35 degrees. These drifts will average 6 to 12 inches deep, and will be most widespread on slopes above about 8,000 with an easterly component. Watch out for drifts along the high ridgelines and also around mid-slope terrain features such as gully walls, breakovers and subridges. It may also be possible to trigger some sluffs within the new snow on continuously steep slopes.


There are a few more isolate avalanche concerns to be on the lookout for. If youre getting into upper elevation, northerly terrain, there is the slight possibility of triggering a deeper slide on an upper layer of faceted snow. Here is to link to a slide triggered with a collapse on Thursday. Also, the recent warm weather has some of those big old cornices creaking and cracking a few have yawning cracks behind them that could swallow you whole, now hidden beneath the new snow. And finally, mostly cloudy skies and cooler temperatures should keep heating to a minimum today, but if the snow surface turns into damp, snowball snow where you are, sluffs will become easy to trigger on steep slopes.


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

The avalanche danger is MODERATE on wind drifted slopes steeper than about 35 degrees, with drifts most widespread on north through southeasterly facing slopes at mid and upper elevations. Out of the wind drifted terrain, a there is a mostly LOW avalanche danger. If the clouds thin or the sun comes out where you are or youre in lower elevation terrain that received rain this morning, there will be a MODERATE danger of wet sluffs on steep slopes.


Mountain Weather:

A weak cold front will push into northern Utah this morning, bringing a small shot of snow. Most of the snow should fall before noon, with 2 to 5 expected. Snowfall will become showery this afternoon, with even a hint of sun possible. The southwesterly winds will shift to the west, and remain in the 15 to 25 mph range, with gusts in the 40s to even 60s at the highest elevations, especially around frontal passage. Temperatures will cool throughout the day, dropping into the teens at 10,000. A stronger storm system will settle into the region Sunday through Monday, with the Provo mountains favored on Sunday and the Ogden, Park City and Salt Lake mountains on Monday.

The Wasatch Powderbird Guides did get out yesterday for a few runs. If they can fly today, theyll try for Mineral, Cardiff, Days, Silver, Mill Creek and White Pine with the possibility of 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 Sunday morning.