Observation: Ogden Foothills

Observation Date
01/23/2017
Observer Name
Charlie Stoker

Region:

Location Name or Route
Layton Foothills/Fernwood/Thurston Ridge
Weather
Sky
Overcast
Precipitation
Heavy Snowfall
Wind Direction
Southwest
Wind Speed
Moderate
Weather Comments
About 25mph (guessed), predominantly SW. Gusts from both S and W.
Snow Characteristics
New Snow Depth
6"
New Snow Density
High
Snow Surface Conditions
Powder
Wind Crust
Rain-Rime Crust
Snow Characteristics Comments
The lower elevation foothills have seen a combination of wind, new snow, sun crust, and wind crusts. Surface conditions best described as "variable" between ice and deep wind drifts.
Red Flags
Red Flags
Heavy Snowfall
Wind Loading
Collapsing
Red Flags Comments
Storm snow and existing snow heavily influenced by wind. Managed to hear a "whoompf" on a 20 degree slope in a localized wind drift. Exciting!
Avalanche Problem #1
Type
Wind Slab
Trend
Increasing Danger
Problem #1 Comments
Evidence of wind loading not only from today's events but the past several days. It appeared as if wind had blown from every direction as local eddies influenced the snow's dispersal.
Avalanche Problem #2
Type
Storm Slab
Trend
Increasing Danger
Problem #2 Comments
Strong, heavy snow being quickly deposited. About 6 inches, average, over the course of the tour. Some may have been from yesterday.
Snow Profile
Aspect
West
Elevation
6200
Slope Angle
24
Comments
With all the canyons being closed, decided to go for a safe, but poor riding condition tour up Thurston Ridge from the Fernwood trailhead. I keep hoping for this ridge to be good, but the low elevation does not lend itself to enjoyable skiing. Skied in about 1.5 miles to gain 1000' (final elevation 6150'). Dug a pit. The chosen location had a snow depth of about 2'. During my skin up, conditions ranged from 4-5' wind drifts to 2" of ice on wind blown ridges. It was hard to determine an "average" location. Definitely "early season" conditions down low.
I dug a pit, performed a rudimentary shovel tilt test, and compression test. This was at 4:30PM. Notes on the pit: Bottom 6-8", Fist hardness Middle 6-8", Weak, faceted snow. Top 6-8", 4F-1F hardness, softer on top. Notes on the shovel tilt test: the strength of the new snow is quite remarkable. I attempted to get a good photo of the shear surface but lighting and winds made this difficult.
Notes on the CT test: CT14. Initial collapse at 13, and then 14 the whole block pulled out (as shown in the picture). Final screen capture shows location, angle, and view from the pit.
Today's Observed Danger Rating
High
Tomorrows Estimated Danger Rating
High
Snow Profile Coordinates