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Forecast for the Ogden Area Mountains

Nikki Champion
Issued by Nikki Champion for
Wednesday, April 13, 2022
This morning the overall avalanche danger is MODERATE but it may spike to CONSIDERABLE during periods of heavy snowfall and high winds. The new snow may produce long-running sluffs or soft slab avalanches. Additionally, the elevated winds may create unstable slabs of wind-drifted snow at the upper elevations. Human-triggered avalanches are possible. Natural avalanches are unlikely, but possible during periods of heavy snowfall rates or stronger winds.
Mid-elevation slopes generally had less wind, but human-triggered avalanches remain possible within the new snow. Pay attention to changing weather patterns.
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Special Announcements
Our last regular forecast is Sunday, April 17th. Intermittent forecasts will be issued through April based upon weather conditions which affect avalanche danger.
Weather and Snow
Snow: As of 5 a.m. an additional 5-6" inches of snow fell overnight and it is still coming down. Snowfall totals since Monday evening:
Ogden area mountains: 10-20" snow
This morning, it is overcast with light snowfall in the mountains. Temperatures are in the mid-teens F and winds are primarily from the west and moderate. At mid-elevations winds are averaging 5-15 mph with gusts between near 20 mph. At the upper elevations, winds are averaging in the low 30s.
Today, there will be periods of occasional snowfall throughout the day, with accumulation up to 3". Temperatures will be in the mid-20s F. Winds will stay elevated and west-northwesterly, gusting up to 20 mph at the mid-elevations and up to 35 mph at the upper elevations. Final storm totals could bring us close to 5-13" of snow by this evening.
Later in the week, a series of weak systems will move through the area Thursday into Friday bringing additional chances of snow. Accumulation with these waves is not expected to be significant.
Recent Avalanches
No new avalanches were reported in the Ogden area mountains, but the Central Wasatch ski resorts reported widespread storm slabs sensitive to both ski cuts and explosives failing on the firm new snow/old snow interface. In the backcountry, multiple parties encountered skier-triggered avalanches within the new snow.
  • Two Dogs - 10,200' - North Aspect - Soft slab failing 18" deep, 50' wide, and running 400' vertical feet. Excellent write-up talking about the margin of risk when "managing" avalanche terrain in the backcountry.
  • Wolverine Bowl - 10,600' - North Aspect - Soft slab failing 9" deep, and 30' wide.
  • Scotties Bowl - 9,700' - North Aspect - Soft slab failing 11" deep, and 30' wide.
  • Scotties Bowl - 10,000' - North Aspect - Soft slab failing 12" deep, and 70' wide.

Photo of the crown from the Two Dogs avalanche report (B. Nalli)
Avalanche Problem #1
Wind Drifted Snow
In the wind zone, the new snow problem will be amplified by additional loading by the wind. Due to the elevated winds that have accompanied this front, you'll likely find slabs of wind drifted snow at the upper elevations, and some mid-elevation sub ridges as well. Winds have mostly been blowing from the northwest and west, but look for drifting on all aspects which can be loaded from the tops of ridges or across the sides of ridges in a process known as cross-loading.
Look for obvious signs of wind-drifted snow, such as pillow-shaped slopes, cracking, and whumping, and avoid those slopes.
Photo of winds actively transporting snow above Two Dogs (B. Nalli)
Avalanche Problem #2
New Snow
Roughly 10-20" inches of new snow has fallen throughout the Ogden area mountains. All of this new snow fell on a variety of excellent bed surfaces, and today we will continue seeing new snow avalanches in the backcountry. With the elevated winds, the new snow seemed to become relatively cohesive yesterday and today I would expect to see more shallow soft slabs, but this doesn't mean that fast running sluffs are out of the picture, particularly in protected upper elevations. Look for both types of new snow instabilities today.
The good news - this new snow issue should be easy to get a handle on how stable or unstable the snow is today. Use test slopes to see how the new snow is behaving, take your shovel out, and perform a shovel tilt test or an extended column test to see if there is any propagation within the new snow. Look for the obvious clues, recent avalanche activity, and shooting cracks.
As the first-round of snow showers wraps up this afternoon another system moves in tomorrow. During either of these snow showers, the sensitivity of the new snow will increase during any periods of high rates of snowfall. Pay attention to changing weather and increased snowfall rates. If the snowfall rates rapily increase at any point, the avalanche danger will increase as well.
General Announcements
Who's up for some free avalanche training? Get a refresher, become better prepared for an upcoming avalanche class, or just boost your skills. Go to https://learn.kbyg.org/ and scroll down to Step 2 for a series of interactive online avalanche courses produced by the UAC.
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.