Ogden Avalanche Advisory

Forecaster: Drew Hardesty


Danger by aspect and elevation on slopes approaching 35° or steeper.
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This morning, the danger is CONSIDERABLE (L3) for the storm snow avalanches. Naturals avalanches are occurring now with the high PI (snowfall rates) and new snow sluffs and wind slabs will be sensitive to human triggering in the mid and upper elevations. The new loose snow avalanches will run without regard to aspect, but the wind slabs will be more likely in terrain with an easterly component. With the current structure and storm, I’d expect the danger to drop to MODERATE (L2) by the afternoon.


By now, the rain is only a distant memory. The rain/rime crust is not. But let’s put this all behind us for now. It’s snowing hard in the Wasatch with snow totals so far of 5-8” of 9-12% density. Provo lags in the west to northwest flow and they have 2-3”. The west to northwest winds are blowing 25-30mph with gusts into the 40s. Even the more protected stations are registering gusty winds. Temps are in the mid teens. Riding conditions will be much improved from yesterday’s slide-for-life conditions on the 45 degree ice rink. The hint will be to go for the ‘dusk patrol today’. Let the intensity of the storm pass on to the east, the storm snow avalanches run and the new snow settle out. For the skiers and boarders, hit the upper elevation low angle slopes so your tails don’t chatter. It’s a whole new outlook on life.


The cold ‘snap’ locked up the rain/rime event, sealing off the wet avalanches and effectively raised the level of the ground to the snow surface. We did hear about one collapse of the snow in the Catherine’s area in the Alta/Brighton perimeter that cracked a foot deep and 200’ wide, but didn’t run.


      Over the next 24 hours.

We have excellent slick bed surfaces on all aspects at the mid and upper elevations. At the higher elevations, a rime crust caps the rain crust (snow tends to adhere better to rime crusts), but it may all be splitting hairs with the current strong winds and high snowfall rates. Even though the new snow came in warm, I’m expecting natural and easy-to-initiate widespread, long running sluffs on the steeper mid and upper elevation slopes approaching 40 degrees and steeper.


      Over the next 24 hours.

The winds will also whip the new snow into sensitive drifts along the lee of ridgelines and crossloaded across subridges and other deceleration zones. I expect them to be very sensitive during and just after the storm, but become more stubborn and localized toward the end of the day.


No trend identified.

The rain was a curse in disguise. It’s effectively capped off a nasty couple layers of intact surface hoar and facets formed on the 8th and 11th. Highly highly unlikely that much could collapse these crusts to activate these still intact weaknesses. Perhaps snowmobiles in thinner crust areas or a ‘step-down’ from other slides…..but, well, at this point, I feel that our troubles washed away or are capped. We may have hit the reset button for the year.


Snow should continue through the morning then become more showery by the afternoon. Temps will continue dropping into the teens. The west to northwest winds, while moderate to strong now, should lose some steam and be 15-20mph by the afternoon. We’ll get a bit of a break tomorrow with windier conditions tomorrow night and another storm on tap Friday-Saturday.


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.

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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.

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