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”


Friday, April 04, 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 Friday, April 04, 2008 and it’s about 7:30 am. 


Current Conditions:

Under clear skies this morning, temperatures have cooled into the mid teens to low twenties at most mountain locations.  The winds are generally from the northwest in the 5 to 10 mph range, with the high elevations gusting into the 30’s.  It will be possible to squeak out one more day of good, consistent powder by staying on high northerly facing slopes, above about 9,000’.  All other aspects and elevations have their own character problems – a medley of breakable crusts that will warm to slop, including a shallowly buried funky crust on mid and low elevation shady slopes.


Snow and Avalanche Discussion:

Both wet sluff and dry wind slab activity was reported yesterday.  A skier triggered a 12 inch deep by 75 foot slide in Cardiac Bowl, and was caught and carried.  He slammed his knee on rocks as he escaped out to side, and Wasatch Backcountry Rescue was called out to do the evacuation.  Another similar sized wind drift was triggered with a cornice drop in the Monitors.  Numerous wet loose sluffs were reported in the SLC and Ogden area mountains, both naturals and human triggered, with the larger ones running up to 800’ vertical and piling up debris 3-5' deep.  One person went for a short ride on Little Superior. 


Today, once again wet avalanche activity is the main concern, and timing is everything.  With a forecast of clear skies and a 10 degree jump in temperatures, easily human triggered wet sluffs will be possible on most aspects and elevations, starting mid morning.  Natural avalanches are possible, so be aware of steep slopes above you.  The low and mid elevation northerly facing slopes could produce wet sluffs today as the dry snow heats for the first time. So start early and finish early to avoid getting tangled up in these wet slides.  Stay out of gully bottoms and confined chutes where debris can pile up deeply.  Heating has also caused the cornices to weaken, and they are breaking off further back than expected. 


In addition, a few wind drifts may still be sensitive today, most widespread on upper elevation northeasterly facing slopes.  While most of the drifts triggered yesterday were less than 6 inches deep, a few were a foot deep - large enough to catch and carry a person. 


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

While the avalanche danger is generally LOW early this morning, it will rapidly rise to MODERATE or even CONSIDERABLE with daytime heating and direct sun.  Easily triggered wet sluffs are probable on most aspects and elevations, including low and mid elevation northerly facing slopes.  Spontaneous wet sluffs may occur, so avoid travel on and beneath steep slopes as the day heats up. In addition, there are pockets of  MODERATE danger on upper elevation, northerly facing slopes for a few lingering wind drifts that could be triggered on steep slopes. 


Mountain Weather:

A few hours of Spring will sneak in today, before another small, cool storm arrives tonight.  Temperatures today will warm to near 50 at 8,000’ and near 30 at 10,000’.  The winds will shift to the southwest, and blow in the 10 to 20 mph range, with the highest peaks gusting into the 40’s.  Clouds will start increasing this afternoon, with a cold front arriving around midnight that should produce 4 to 7 inches of snow by Saturday afternoon.  A short break on Sunday will be followed by cooler than normal, unsettled weather through much of next week


Our partners, the Friends of the Utah Avalanche Center, with the Canyons Professional Ski Patrol Association, will be hosting a joint fundraising event Sunday, April 6th, at 8:30 pm, at Harry O's in Park City, 427 Main Street, for the UAC and Canyons Professional Ski Patrol Association.  There will be a raffle with gift certificates from Backcountry.com and an awesome silent auction.  The house will be rocking with Space Patrol opening for Junior and Transportation. We hope to see you there!

The Wasatch Powderbird Guides skied in Mineral and Cardiff  yesterday, and will be in Mineral, Cardiff, Days, Silver and Mill Creek with home runs through White Pine and Grizzly 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).

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 Saturday morning.