Ogden Avalanche Advisory

Forecaster: Drew Hardesty


There is still space available in the Backcountry 101 Avalanche Class on January 6 and 8 and the Advanced Avalanche Skills class January 20 and 22. Both classes will have an evening classroom session and a field day. Details at http://utahavalanchecenter.org/education. I'll be giving a free Avalanche Awareness talk at the SLC REI Tuesday night at 7pm.


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

Danger Rose Tutorial

There remains a MODERATE (Level 2) danger for triggering 1-2’ deep avalanches in steep wind drifted slopes, and more severe on the west to south to easterly facing terrain. There is a LEVEL 1 (LOW) danger on wind sheltered slopes less steep than about 35 degrees.


Cloud cover rolled back in as we’re somewhat in between systems with a weak system to the north and a storm spiraling off the coast of California. Temperatures have moderated and we’re at three day highs in the mountains with temps in the upper single digits. Trailheads and valley bottoms remain mired in the zero degree range, but not for long. The northwesterly winds punished the high exposed terrain with sustained speeds in the mid-30’s but they’ve moderated as the flow has backed to the west and southwest. Riding conditions deteriorated above, say, 10,500’, but remain excellent in the more protected terrain on all aspects, including south.


Another day, another interesting 2’ deep skier triggered slide on a steep south facing slope. This one ripped out in lower Primrose Cirque at 8300’ likely running on a thin layer of weak faceted snow above the hard crust. The second – and reporting – party detailed continued sensitive hangfire above and adjacent to it, with snow breaking out way above the last skier. This makes for two and perhaps four (if you count the plow-triggered avalanches above the Farmington canyon road).

Farther to the north there just off the Park City ridgeline, the stronger winds created conditions to catch and briefly carry a skier on a steep northeast facing slope at roughly 9800’. He managed to grab a tree and let the 10” deep and 45’ wide pocket wash by. Explosive testing yielded slabs up to 3’ deep in the highest northerly terrain of the Cottonwoods. Don’t forget – you can often find more details off our Current Conditions page.

Human-initiated loose snow sluffing in the low density snow, whether intentional or not, continues to become more common and more of a concern, particularly in the steepest most confined terrain.


      Over the next 12 hours.

While it wouldn’t take much to blow the low density snow around, 30-35 mph winds were enough for the exposed ridgelines. Now that the winds have backed to the west and southwest (albeit at lower speeds), be aware that drifting will be checkered along the north to east to southerly facing slopes. The northerly facing drifts should respond to cornice drops and slope cuts at your feet, but the southerly aspects will be less predictable due to the more pronounced weakness and bed surface.


      Over the next 24 hours.

Respectably large loose snow sluffs remain easy to trigger in the steepest terrain, and are starting to entrain more snow and pack a punch. We’re seeing more and more people getting into the ‘no-fall zone’ terrain where even the smallest sluff knocking you off your feet or ride could pose significant trouble.


      Over the next 24 hours.

You’ll need to calibrate your danger pattern. Typically, the shady aspects hold the slow to heal weaknesses. For now, it’s the southerly aspects as mentioned above. Human triggered avalanches confirm and corroborate what some of our stability tests indicate.


We’ll have mostly cloudy to overcast skies with a flurry or two throughout the day. The winds will be from the southwest blowing 15-20mph. Temps will be in the upper teens at 8000’ and mid-teens at 10,000’. Northern Utah will be affected by weak storms to the north and a wayward ejecting cutoff Low to the south over the next week. Mostly a yawner, but then the mid-week storm would be a tough act to follow in any book.


If you trigger an avalanche in the backcountry - especially if you are adjacent to a ski area – please call the following teams 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)

Discount Lift tickets: Ski Utah, Backcountry.com, Alta, Deer Valley, Park City, The Canyons, Wolf Mountain, Snowbasin, Beaver Mountain, Brighton, Sundance, and Solitude have donated a limited number of tickets for sale.

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.

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

UDOT canyon closures UDOT at (801) 975-4838

You have the opportunity to participate in the creation of our own community avalanche advisory by submitting 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.

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.