Forecast for the Ogden Area Mountains

Nikki Champion
Issued by Nikki Champion for
Thursday, January 25, 2024
The avalanche danger is CONSIDERABLE on upper elevation slopes facing west through north to southeast, and MODERATE on all remaining slopes. Any avalanche triggered within the new snow or wind-drifted snow has the potential to step down 2-5+ feet deep into the weak faceted snow within the snowpack.
There could be a more pronounced danger where the snowpack is shallower or thinner. While it may be possible to find this layering anywhere, the terrain along the periphery is most suspect. Careful snowpack evaluation, cautious route-finding, and conservative decision-making are essential today.
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Special Announcements
Join us for a Motorized Backcountry 101: Introduction to Avalanches class on February 2-3 down on the Skyline. Click here for more information and to register.
Weather and Snow
This morning, skies are overcast. Temperatures range from the upper teens to mid-20s F, accompanied by light southwesterly winds, reaching 30 mph at the highest ridgetops.
Today, a mild storm will bring widespread snowfall to the region. Temperatures will range from the low to mid-30s F, with westerly winds averaging 10-15 mph and gusting up to 35 mph along the highest ridgetops.
Initially due to southwesterly flow, there will be higher snow density. As the flow shifts northwest, colder air will reduce snow density, and the snowfall is expected to end around midnight.
Snowfall totals should reach between 2-6" by 5 PM, with an additional 1-2" overnight. Some riming may occur late tonight into Friday morning due to lingering low-level moisture.
The Outlook: High pressure will dominate the weekend, bringing a noticeable warming trend. Mountain temperatures are expected to rise into the 40s and higher early next week, according to the models. Stay tuned for updates.
Recent Avalanches
No new avalanches were reported in the backcountry yesterday. The most recent reported slide in the Ogden mountains was from Saturday off Island Peak near Ben Lomond. This large and significant avalanche broke 3' deep and 70' wide on a steep northeast facing slope at 8400'. Yesterday, DeBruin, Hardesty, O'Connor saw the remnants of a slab avalanche (largely refilled due to windblown snow given its location near a ridgeline) at 7900ft NE that appeared to have run full path, about 800ft of vertical. See Photo.
At the lower elevations, wet and punchy riding conditions could exist. The new snowfall should refresh all elevations.

Be sure to check all the avalanche activity HERE.
Avalanche Problem #1
Persistent Weak Layer
The primary concern is triggering a large and unsurvivable hard slab avalanche on a persistent weak layer of faceted snow, which is now 2-5+ feet deep. This weak layer formed during a dry period in December and got buried in January. Over time, this unstable combination has become more stubborn and has been moving in the right direction, showing significantly fewer signs of instability. See the recent North Fork Park observation from DeBruin, Hardesty, O'Connor HERE.
Though the likelihood is decreasing, the consequence remains just as high. We are beginning to move into a period of high consequence—MODERATE, or "scary moderate." Where the likelihood, size, and distribution of avalanches may fall closer to moderate on the danger scale, but travel advice may still lean closer to considerable.
Thinner snowpack areas may be particularly suspect. Remember, avalanches can be triggered from a distance or below. Stay safe and be cautious.
Avalanche Problem #2
New Snow
The approaching front is expected to bring 4-8" of new snow. Anticipate shallow new snow avalanches in the backcountry as the snow totals increase, especially in the upper elevations, with fast-running sluffs likely.
Watch for signs of instability like cracking and sluffing, as even a small slide can pose serious risks in steep terrain or near cliffs. The sensitivity of the new snow is closely tied to the rate of snowfall, with higher rates making avalanches easier to trigger.
In the wind zone: With winds picking up and soft snow available for transport, you are likely to see soft slabs of wind-drifted snow forming on all upper-elevation slopes and mid-elevation terrain features that allow for drifting snow to accumulate today. Look for signs of wind-drifted snow, such as rounded, wavy, or pillow-shaped formations, and avoid those slopes.
Any avalanche triggered within the wind-drifted or new snow has the potential to overload or step down 2-5'+ feet deep, or even deeper, into the weak faceted snow within the snowpack, creating a very large and dangerous avalanche.
Additional Information
Forecaster's Corner: Navigating the backcountry during CONSIDERABLE avalanche danger, especially with a persistent weak layer (PWL), is challenging. The snow conditions may be excellent, and signs of instability less apparent than in HIGH or EXTREME danger. Despite our caution, we might be enticed by existing tracks and even get away with a run or two. However, this is when accidents and fatalities often occur. Over 70% of fatalities involve a persistent weak layer. If you get caught and carried today, consider where you might end up and what could happen.
General Announcements
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.