Ogden Avalanche Advisory

Forecaster: Drew Hardesty


Danger by aspect and elevation on slopes approaching 35° or steeper.
(click HERE for tomorrow's danger rating)

Danger Rose Tutorial

The avalanche danger remains Considerable with areas of High on any slope above 8,500 feet that faces northwest, north, and northeast through southeast steeper than about 30 degrees. These remain very dangerous conditions in the backcountry.


Skies are clear, temps are in the upper 20's, and the westerly winds are on pretty good behavior, blowing 15-20mph. Snow surface conditions are a mix of wind board, crusts, and thick settled powder.


1st day of no new activity since the 12th. Even the Wasatch Powderbird Guides, conducting explosive testing in the backcountry, had no results. The ski areas, however, continue to pull out monsters in both compacted and uncompacted terrain. We are all turning gray before our eyes.

Those making the rounds in the backcountry are prudently ridge-walking, 'meadow -skipping', or riding old bed surfaces. But! There are caveats to all of these: It's still dangerous when:

A ridge does not know it is a ridge – I personally have been caught on an uptrack when a ridge in the Provo mountains suddenly steepened and became rounded. I triggered the surface hoar layer 40' above me and washed down to the flats just below.

Meadow skipping with a snowpack like ours. Many of these avalanches have been triggered remotely from the ridgelines, from the bottom and from the side. We've had recent full burials and fatalities from just this phenomenon.

Is it safe to ski or ride down an area that has already avalanched? The answer is......"it depends".  It depends on what the sliding surface was, the weak layer, and whether a new slab has developed over any lingering weaknesses.  This year, we have weaknesses a few inches above the rain crust, just above the rain crust, just below the rain crust, and then into stronger, albeit still faceted, snow.  So in this case, you may have an avalanche fail on the upper weakness, then have the slab rebuild with more snow/wind and then fail on the next, lower weakness.  Exhibit A would be the Wall of Voodoo, adjacent to the Canyons resort. The area of our first incident of the year released again over the Christmas cycle.


      Over the next 24 hours.

It would be negligent to only discuss snow stability in the advisory. For me, it's the whole ball of wax: terrain, weather, stability, route-finding, safe travel. It's all there. Most importantly it's the decisions we make and what risks we will assume. I'd like to point out a few misconceptions:

That “they” were experienced. They may have skiied or snowmobiled for a few years, or ridden the slope before, but that doesn't translate to an understanding of the dynamic processes of snow and avalanche formation. You can't get a job as a sommelier after a couple glasses of wine.

That “they” were prepared. Saying you're prepared with your beacon, probe, and shovel in these conditions is like saying you're prepared with a life jacket as you're going over Niagara Falls.


      Over the next 24 hours.

Most of the wind slabs have likely settled out over the past day or two, though it would still be wise to avoid any thick rounded whales on the lee of ridges and subridges.


We'll have mostly clear skies today with temps in the mid to upper twenties. The westerly winds are slated to blow 15-20mph with higher speeds along the 11k level. Likely we'll see more snow later in the weekas a decent cold front moves through Friday night that looks to provide 6-10” or more in favored areas.


Wasatch Powderbird guides are starting operations – click here to go directly to their operations planning page.  Today they'll have two ships out.  One in American Fork, the other in Cardiff and Silver, White Pine, and Grizzly Gulch. 

If you want to get this avalanche advisory e-mailed to you daily click HERE.

UDOT highway avalanche control work info can be found by calling (801) 975-4838. Our statewide toll free line is 1-888-999-4019 (early morning, option 8).

The UAC depends on contributions from users like you to support our work.  To find out more about how you can support our efforts to continue providing the avalanche forecasting and education that you expect please visit our Friends page.

If you’re getting out and see anything we should know about please let us know.  You can leave a message at (801) 524-5304 or 1-800-662-4140, or email us at uac@utahavalanchecenter.org. (Fax 801-524-6301).

This advisory does not apply to ski areas or highways where avalanche control is normally done. The information in this advisory is from the U.S. Forest Service, which is solely responsible for its content.  This advisory describes general avalanche conditions and local variations always occur.

Evelyn will update this advisory by 7:30am tomorrow.

This information does not apply to developed ski areas or highways where avalanche control is normally done.  This advisory is from the U.S.D.A. Forest Service, which is solely responsible for its content. This advisory describes general avalanche conditions and local variations always occur.

This advisory provided by the USDA Forest Service, in partnership with:

The Friends of the Utah Avalanche Center, Utah Division of State Parks and Recreation, Utah Division of Emergency Management, Salt Lake County, Salt Lake Unified Fire Authority and the friends of the La Sal Avalanche Center. See our Sponsors Page for a complete list.