Forecast for the Logan Area Mountains

Toby Weed
Issued by Toby Weed for
Saturday, December 2, 2023
Dangerous avalanche conditions exist on drifted upper-elevation slopes in the backcountry. Increasing westerly winds overnight and 1 to 2 feet of new snow overload upper-elevation northerly facing slopes where we’ve observed very weak, sugary snow. The avalanche danger is CONSIDERABLE on high slopes facing northwest through southeast. Heightened conditions exist in all other mid and upper-elevation terrain.
Expect the avalanche danger to rise further this weekend, with more heavy snowfall, warming temperatures, and significant drifting expected. Careful snowpack evaluation, cautious route-finding, and conservative decision-making are essential today.
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Special Announcements
The 5th Annual Avalanche Awareness Week is December 3-10. The week's goal is to save lives through activities that promote avalanche awareness, education, and safety. We have a variety of events around the state. Find an event near you.
Weather and Snow
The National Weather Service has continued a Winter Storm Warning for the Logan Zone. A break in the heavy snowfall is expected this morning, but the storm will resume later today with heavy snowfall, warming temperatures, and increasingly strong winds expected this afternoon, tonight, and tomorrow.
The Tony Grove Snotel at 8400' reports a solid 20 inches of snow from the storm so far, and westerly winds increased a bit overnight on Logan Peak, with average wind speeds around 27 mph and gusts approaching 60 mph. Elsewhere, it looks like 10 or 12 inches accumulated at the new Card Canyon weather station, and a similar amount is visible on the webcam at Beaver Mt. The new weather station on Paris Peak reports 20 mph winds from the west and 38 mph gusts.
Before the storm, only about 2 feet of snow covered the rocks on the highest shady slopes in the Bear River Range. Recent cold temperatures subjected the shallow snow to a significant temperature gradient, causing it to become faceted and weak. There was very little snow at mid and lower elevations, and many sunny slopes were bare, as seen in my Wood Camp observation from Thursday.
Recent Avalanches
There were reports of nice deep powder riding conditions yesterday in the Northern Bear River Range, and despite loose underlying facets and lacking a slab, there were no avalanches or other signs of instability noted.
Avalanche Problem #1
Persistent Weak Layer
The meager November snow in upper elevation avalanche starting zones barely covers the rocks, and it is extremely weak and sugary due to its shallowness and sustained cold temperatures. As drifting snow from this weekend’s storm overloads this weak faceted snow, avalanches will likely fail on or within the old sugary snow, a persistent weak layer. Avalanches failing on a persistent weak layer could be triggered remotely, from a distance, or below. Cracking and collapsing (or whumpfs) are definite signs of instability.
Avalanche Problem #2
Wind Drifted Snow
Increasing and strong westerly winds are drifting large quantities of fresh snow into upper-elevation avalanche-starting zones, creating thick wind slabs in exposed terrain. People should avoid thicker drifted snow on the lee side of prominent ridges and in and around terrain features like sub-ridges, gully walls, and cliff bands.
Avalanche Problem #3
New Snow
Avalanches of storm snow are possible on steep slopes even where there is no underlying weak snow. With warming temperatures, the new snow is becoming denser and it's heavier on top. This is what we call inverted snow, and it's prone to avalanching. Slabs of denser snow could fail on layers within the new snow.
Additional Information
Additional Information:
It’s been a busy fall, and I’m happy to report that we’ve recently installed two new weather stations in the Logan Zone. They are both up and running, producing real-time data available to the public, and they will help us forecast mountain weather and local avalanche danger more accurately.
  • The Paris Peak Weather Station (available HERE) was installed in the northern Bear River Range near the summit of Paris Peak at around 9500 feet in elevation, northwest of Bear Lake. It measures mountain-top winds in a vast area without similar data.
  • We installed the Card Canyon Weather Station (available HERE) near Red Pine Ridge at about 8750 feet in elevation north of Logan Peak in upper Card Canyon. In addition to other weather details, this station will measure the total snow depth and its changes throughout the winter.

Taking time to pull out, check your companion rescue gear, and practice with your transceiver is essential.
General Announcements
The Tony Grove Road is not maintained for winter driving, and you will likely encounter very slick, snowy, and icy conditions if you venture up there.
Our 20th annual Pray For Snow fundraiser party will be on Tuesday night, December 5, at the Cache on Main Street in Logan. For more information and to get your tickets in advance, go to our events page.
Know Before You Go - December 6 - Utah State University, Logan. It’s Free! Please join us for a KBYG presentation hosted by Utah State University from 6:00 - 8:00 PM: Location: USU Aggie Recreation Center (ARC), 805 E 700 N, Logan, UT.
This information does not apply to developed ski areas or highways where avalanche control is normally done. This forecast is from the U.S.D.A. Forest Service, which is solely responsible for its content. This forecast describes general avalanche conditions and local variations always occur.
We will update this forecast tomorrow morning.