11th Annual Utah Snow & Avalanche Workshop Open and Motorized Sessions Oct. 27th.
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Observation Date: 
2/27/2017
Observer Name: 
Derek DeBruin
Region: 
Ogden
Location Name or Route: 
North Ogden Divide, South Side
Weather
Sky: 
Obscured
Precipitation: 
Heavy Snowfall
Wind Direction: 
West
Wind Speed: 
Moderate
Weather Comments: 
This latest system definitely delivered. There was 5 or 6" of fresh snow at the Ogden Divide trailhead (6200') at 6:00am and it wasn't done yet. When I left the car the snow was coming down heavily, probably about S4, tapering down to S1 or S2 by the time I was back at the car around 0800. The divide picked up at least 3 more inches while I was out. Temps were upper 20s F. Winds were generally westerly and consistently in the moderate range, but local topography allowed for gusts to strong from across almost the entire the north half of the compass, from W to NE.
Snow Characteristics
New Snow Depth: 
9"
New Snow Density: 
Low
Snow Surface Conditions: 
Powder
Dense Loose
Wind Crust
Rain-Rime Crust
Snow Characteristics Comments: 
I went to the Divide this morning anticipating some interesting snow conditions and was not disappointed. There was pretty decent spatial variability in the snowpack. Protected locations (N facing gully, lower elevation, trees) featured light, fluffy powder from boot-top to knee deep. Exposed locations had a variety of wind effects: scouring (sometimes to bare ice) on the windward side, waist-high cornices on the ridges, and 1F wind slab formation on the windward side. Locations in between featured 3 to 12" of dense powder or soft slab atop an ice crust featuring with a thin layer of facets sandwiched between the ice and the powder/soft slab. A little bit of everything, but careful avoidance of the ice and wind slabs featured great riding.
Red Flags
Red Flags: 
Heavy Snowfall
Wind Loading
Avalanche Problem #1
Type: 
Wind Drifted Snow
Trend: 
Increasing Danger
Problem #1 Comments: 
I witnessed a minor spontaneous release below a cornice today, and wind slabs on lee features were at least 1F hardness (though I did not venture far onto them to investigate further). Given the ice layer and facets topped with low density snow for the wind slabs to rest upon, I anticipate wind slab avalanches today with the continuing snow and wind.
Avalanche Problem #2
Type: 
New Snow
Trend: 
Same
Problem #2 Comments: 
Close on the heels of wind slab is soft slab/storm slab, also owing to the continued precipitation. The snow isn't particularly dense, but there was plenty of it already by 0600 and that's supposed to continue into tomorrow.
Comments: 
Small natural release on the lee side below a cornice at low elevation.
The upper portion of the snowpack, a variety of F to 4F wind-affected layers atop a thin layer of facets with an ice crust below. Skinning was interesting trying to push down 12" of dense powder to then scribe on an ice layer.
Approaching a north-facing ridge around 7300', with wind scouring, bare ice, and the backside of a cornice/wind slab all visible.
Small cornices near 7300 feet.
Today's Observed Danger Rating: 
Considerable
Tomorrows Estimated Danger Rating: 
Considerable
Snow Profile Coordinates: 

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