Ogden Avalanche Advisory

Forecaster: Drew Hardesty


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

Danger Rose Tutorial

Pockets of Level 2/MODERATE danger exist both at the high and low elevations. Avoid any new and old drifts of wind-blown snow. These remain most pronounced in the high north through southeast facing terrain. If the low elevation snow begins to get damp, avoid steeper terrain that funnels through a terrain trap. Recall the new-school definition of MODERATE - “Heightened avalanche conditions on specific terrain features. Evaluate snow and terrain carefully; identify features of concern.”


Welcome to December. By my rough count – admittedly cherry-picking for favored Salt Lake locations - 85-90” fell in November, pushing the early season totals to arguably 120”. Much of the early snow came in like Sierra cement with densities at or around 15%. Seems like we’ve had more wind this month than all of last year combined…and so far one significant rime event on the 14th to stir the pot. We suffered our first fatality of the season on the 26th in the Uintas and we’ve had a few other close calls.

Warm, moist air streaming through the flattening ridge of high pressure quickly occluded yesterday’s bluebird sky and temperatures have rocketed 20-25 degrees in the last 24 hours. It’s still humid; and snowing – sort of. Most areas picked up a thick inch and maybe we’ll be able to double or triple that number by tonight. The westerlies are blowing 15-20mph with gusts to 30. The most exposed stations have speeds to 35mph. Riding conditions remain best in the mid-elevation shady slopes below tree-line. Elsewhere, sun and wind damage rule the day.


As quiet as it was active from the day before. We had reports of some isolated soft slabs from ski area control work, and some minor loose snow movement from slope cuts. One observer noted a new glide avalanche high in looker’s left Bonkers, a northeast facing slope at 9600’ in Broads Fork of Big Cottonwood. Dimensions were reported 2-3’ deep, 80’ wide, running 1500’ low into the runout.

Observations in the Ogden mountains continue to indicate mostly stable conditions but with weakening snow beneath the Nov 14 rime crust. The stronger winds up high may offer up a pockety hard slab that may crack out in the steeper unsupported terrain at the highest easterly facing slopes.


      Over the next 24 hours.

It’s not what we know that kills us, it’s what we know that ain’t so. Generally speaking, we have a generally stable snowpack with a few interfaces within the pack that are continuing to heal. Most reports indicate that, at least in the central Wasatch – and less so in the Ogden mountains - the rime crust interface has gained a fair bit of strength. Too, the 1-3’ deeply buried thick layers of graupel likely showed their hand with the two natural hard slab releases noted in Slide canyon in Provo.

Why to begin the discussion in this way?

· Variable conditions are almost always most severe in the early season.

· One must always approach the snow with a beginner’s open mind.

· Recall that our snow science – if you want to call it that – is a relatively young field. We’re dealing with a material that is continually in motion and evolution/metamorphism.

Having said all of these things, one can anticipate the some remnant wind drifts in the highest, most exposed terrain. That’s not all. The warm temperatures over the next couple of days are likely to dampen the cold dry snow at the lower shady elevations – so consider those steeper gullies and terrain traps on the way in or out. All of these are concerns that can readily be managed or avoided with some good decision-making. If snow is the problem, terrain is the answer. Always.


We’ll have off and on flurries this morning but shouldn’t add up to much. Temps continue to rise to near 30 at 8000’ and the upper 20s at 10,000’. Riming is possible. Winds will be westerly at 20-25mph. Generally cloudy tomorrow with a similar ‘event’ later Friday. The longer range models still point in different directions for later in the weekend.

Don’t forget to check our afternoon mountain weather forecast, found on the sidebar under Wasatch Weather.


If you trigger a large avalanche in the backcountry - especially if you are adjacent to a ski area – please call the following agencies to alert them to the slide and whether anyone is missing or not. Rescue teams can be exposed to significant hazard when responding to avalanches, and do not want to do so when unneeded. Thanks.

Salt Lake – Alta Central (801-742-2033)

Ogden – Snowbasin Patrol Dispatch (801-620-1017)

Provo – Sundance Patrol Dispatch (801-223-4150)

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Wasatch Powderbird Guides flight plan.

Dawn Patrol Forecast Hotline, updated by 05:30: 888-999-4019 option 8.

Daily observations are frequently posted by 10 pm each evening.

Free UAC iPhone app from Canyon Sports.

Subscribe to the daily avalanche advisory e-mail click HERE.

UDOT canyon closures UDOT at (801) 975-4838

We appreciate all your avalanche and snow observations. You can also call us at 801-524-5304 or 800-662-4140, or email to uac@utahavalanchecenter.org

Donate to your favorite non-profit – The Friends of the Utah Avalanche Center. The UAC depends on contributions from users like you to support our work.

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.

We will update this forecast tomorrow morning. Thanks for calling.

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.