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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Thursday, April 10, 2008  7:30 am
Good morning, this is Brett Kobernik with the Forest Service Utah Avalanche Center with your backcountry avalanche and mountain weather advisory.  Today is Thursday, April 10, 2008 and it’s about 7:30 am. 



Special Announcement:  UDOT is performing avalanche control work above Little Cottonwood Canyon this morning mainly in hopes of bringing down some of the recent layers of snow before the forecasted warm up for this weekend which could produce significant wet avalanche activity.  The road should re-open before 830am.


Current Conditions:

Get out and get it while the gettin’ is good because warm weather is on the door step.  Another 5 to 10 inches of snow fell throughout the range on Wednesday with densities lightening up quite a bit last night.  Temperatures are in the mid to upper teens at 10,000 feet and low to mid 20s at 8000.  West northwest winds picked up yesterday afternoon and gusted into the 50s at the most exposed locations.  They are now gusting into the 20s & 30s and averaging 5 to 15 along the mid elevation ridges.


Snow and Avalanche Discussion:

Yesterday’s avalanche danger definitely increased as the day went on with a period of moderate to heavy snowfall coupled with gusty winds.  Many people noted sluffing that would run far enough to pack a bit of a punch.  Cracking of the new snow quickly became apparent with a number of people triggering fresh drifts in the upper Cottonwoods.  These were fairly small in nature but one was around 150 feet wide and around 6 inches deep.  Greenhousing made the snow damp and heavy mid day at certain locations.  This density change produced some cracking and one person reported triggering a damp slab avalanche on Patsy Marley above Alta.  I found interesting conditions during my field day on Thursday also.


For today the first concern is the newest snow which has formed some fresh drifts.  You can find these on a variety of aspects at the mid and upper elevations.  I wouldn’t be surprised to hear of a slab breaking deeper into the previous storm layering on the upper elevation northerly facing aspects as well.  Perform slope cuts where appropriate to see if the snow will crack.  Quick hand pits will reveal layering easily.


Fresh unconsolidated snow and periods of sun dictate us to keep a close eye out as the snow may become damp and produce wet activity as the day progresses.  Consider where your route will put you as the day goes on.  Avoid lingering in gullies and under steep slopes especially in the more popular areas of the Cottonwoods.


Bottom Line for the Salt Lake, Park City, Provo and Ogden area mountains:  The avalanche danger is MODERATE on mid and upper elevation slopes steeper than about 35 degrees, especially on any slope with recent drifts of wind blown snow.  There may be a few pockets with a lingering CONSIDERABLE danger along the upper elevation northerly aspects of Little and Big Cottonwood canyons which received the most snow over the last few days.  There will be a MODERATE danger of wet avalanching on slopes that become damp with daytime heating.  Keep in mind that conditions vary greatly with the slightest change in aspect and elevation.


Mountain Weather:

For today we’ll see periods of clearing with temperatures at 8000 feet in the low to mid 30s.  West northwest winds will average 5 to 15 mph along the mid elevations and gust into the 30s along the higher ridges.  Scattered light snow showers are possible.  A minor disturbance will move through this evening bringing the possibility of a quick shot of snow and a slight increase in wind speeds.  We’ll be on the down slope side of the approaching ridge which will keep us in a northwesterly flow through Friday bringing partly cloudy skies and cool temperatures.  A dramatic warm up is scheduled for the weekend especially Sunday and Monday.


The Wasatch Powderbird Guides did not fly yesterday, and will go for Mineral, Cardiff, Days, Silver, Grizzly, White Pine.  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.

Bruce Tremper will update this advisory by 7:30 on Friday morning.