Ogden Avalanche Advisory

Forecaster: Drew Hardesty


I've issued a SPECIAL AVALANCHE ADVISORY is for the mountains of northern and central Utah, to include the Bear River Range, the western Uintas and the Wasatch Plateau. The avalanche danger will be on the rise through the holiday weekend. Dangerous human triggered avalanches will be likely at the mid and upper elevations. Those without excellent avalanche skills should avoid being on or underneath steep mountain slopes.


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

Danger Rose Tutorial

A MODERATE (Level 2) danger will rise toward CONSIDERABLE (L3) by the end of the day.

We have a clear and present increasing danger in the backcountry over the next couple of days. Sensitive human triggered avalanches will become more widespread with the storm and most problematic on mid and upper elevation north through east facing slopes approaching 35 degrees. With the newly buried surface hoar, or frost layers, even lower angled slopes 25-35 degrees in steepness may be suspect in drifted terrain, particularly on Monday.


As of 5am we’re just starting to see the first hint of snow in the mountains and the northwest winds are only starting to gear up. They’re blowing 15mph gusting to 25 with nearly double that along the most exposed ridgelines. Temps are in the mid to low 20s. Wind, sun, and warm temperatures have crust on all but the shady terrain between 8 and 10,000’.

With plenty of shallowly buried exceedingly weak snow and plenty of snow and blow in the forecast, these next couple of days will be a good gut-check for the backcountry crowd.


Another couple of near-misses in the backcountry. In upper White Pine canyon along the Park City ridgeline a skier triggered and was caught and briefly carried by a shallow 4-6” slide that ran 300’ through the trees. This was on a steep northeast facing slope at 9500’. Further to the north in the Ogden mountains near the Cutler ridge, the second skier on a slope unintentionally triggered a 6-16” deep and 80’ wide soft slab on top of the 1st skier waiting below. The third skier then triggered an identical slide adjacent to the first. All of these slides involved the January 8th surface hoar layer…(Catch Kobernik’s synopsis of the evolving weak layers in the upper snowpack here.)


      Over the next 24 hours.

So I lamented yesterday that “we have plenty of weak snow, but not much slab or load above it.” Be careful for what you wish for. It’s a game changer. Today’s few inches of higher density snow and stronger winds will create unstable slabs particularly at the mid and upper elevation drifted terrain. Collapsing and shooting cracks, even remote triggering from the ridgelines, will be the dead give-away for the increasing hazard and the danger will be in lockstep with the amount and drifting of snow today.


      Over the next 10 hours.

While the warm temps and greenhousing from Friday damaged the snow up to about 8000’, today’s rain-on-snow is likely to exacerbate the wet sluffing, particularly in the shady terrain. Avoid being in or terrain that dumps into a terrain trap.


Rain, snow and wind will be a good shot in the arm for the mountains of northern Utah. A high rain/snow-line is likely to rise even higher – perhaps to 8500’ or more by the afternoon. So we’ll see perhaps a heavy 2-4” in the higher elevations today with northwest winds increasing to 35-40mph by the afternoon. We can expect continued snowfall through the night and through Monday with 6-10” possible…with the Cottonwoods and areas north of I-80 standing to benefit most from the storm. Winds should continue rising overnight and blow 40-45+ with gusts into the 70s.

We get a bit of a break Tuesday with another, colder Pacific storm lined up for Wednesday.


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 by clicking HERE

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.