Forecast for the Ogden Area Mountains

Issued by Trent Meisenheimer for Monday, February 11, 2019 - 7:02am
The avalanche danger is MODERATE on and below steep, wind drifted slopes at all mid and upper elevations. Human triggered avalanches are possible.
  1. New and old wind drifts can be triggered on all steep upper elevation slopes.
  2. Avoid being on and below heavily corniced ridgelines.
  3. Watch for new snow soft slabs and sluffs in steep terrain.
  4. There remains the isolated chance of triggering a deeper avalanche, especially in shallow snowpack areas.
Wind sheltered, mid elevation terrain has a MODERATE danger with 5 star turning and riding conditions on slopes under about 35° degrees.
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Special Announcements
There have now been four avalanche fatalities in four weeks in Utah. Yesterday, UAC staff investigated the avalanche that took the life of 49 year old Jason Lyman. Find the avalanche report HERE.
Weather and Snow
Yesterday, the brutal southwest winds finally gave way as a classic Utah cold front sliced over northern Utah around 3:00 pm. Winds switched to the northwest and snow began falling in the afternoon. 24 hour storm totals are 6-10" snow (0.40-1.0" h20)
Winds this morning are from the west-north-west and currently blowing 5-15 mph with gusts into the 20's across the highest peaks and ridge lines. Mountain temperatures are frigid with upper elevation thermometers reading -1°F. Mid elevation trail heads are in the teens °F.
For today, we will see increasing clouds at times and may be some clearing mid morning before the clouds build back in. Winds will back to more of a westerly direction and should be well behaved with speeds in the 10-20 mph range at upper elevations. Temperatures will warm into the low to mid 20's °F. Light snow is possible in favored locations but, not adding up to much. At times the sparkly magic show will begin as the sun lights up the low density six sided dendrites falling from the atmosphere.
Recent Avalanches
No new observations from the Ogden area. Resorts reported very touchy cornices as well as small wind drifts off the lee terrain. Sharp Mountain (private land) - to the north of James Peak, had a very interesting avalanche on Friday. A remotely triggered hard slab on west to northwest facing slope at 8,600', breaking near the ground on facets 4 feet deep and 300' wide.
Avalanche Problem #1
Wind Drifted Snow
Southerly winds wreaked havoc on the mountains yesterday. Upper elevation averages were in the 20-25 mph range with gusts into the 40's and 50's. To complicated the issue, all of yesterday's wind drifts are now buried and impossible to see due to the overnight storm snow. My advise would be to think like the wind and avoid areas where strong southerly winds could have loaded slopes yesterday. Or, even better - just avoid all steep upper elevation slopes for today and let the snow settle and gain some strength.
Today's, winds will be strong enough to grab the storm snow and form new drifts of wind blown snow and start forming slab avalanches. Look for and avoid any new drifts of wind blown snow. If the snow is cracking under your skis, board or sled, this is a sign of instability.
Avalanche Problem #2
Persistent Weak Layer
I am not sure what to think of this avalanche triggered over the weekend in the "transitional zone" between the Ogden area and the Logan area mountains. Currently, it's a "one of a kind" avalanche for the Ogden area mountains. But scary and not to be ignored. Multiple snow and wind events mean we are starting to get unusual avalanches, and there is the chance that there are other slopes with a similar snowpack. Evaluate all steep slopes carefully - perhaps this was a slope with a shallow snowpack that had faceted, and then was heavily wind loaded this week
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.

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