Ogden Avalanche Advisory

Forecaster: Drew Hardesty


This forecast goes out to good friend Wendy Wagner who just took a job as a forecaster in the Chugach Range of Alaska. Thanks Wendy and good luck.

There are just a few lift tickets left - to Sundance, Wolf Mountain and Brianhead ski resorts – 100% of the sale of these donated tickets goes to support the Utah Avalanche Center.


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

Danger Rose Tutorial

Back to the same refrain of trying to describe the low probability high consequence scenario. It’s mostly Low danger. Pockets of Considerable danger exist above 9000’ primarily on north through southeast facing slopes for triggering hard slabs up to 3-4’ deep. The danger is heightened along the periphery of the Tri-canyons of the Wasatch where the MLK crust is thin. Collapsing may offer some idea of localized instability.


A weak system passing through from the northwest is driving some light snowfall in the mountains and it may add up to a trace to 2” during the day. The northwest winds picked up overnight ahead of the “storm” and are blowing 15-20mph with the highest anemometers showing gusts to near 40. Temps are in the upper teens. Riding conditions are high-grade in the mid and upper elevation shady, wind protected terrain. Off aspects are again sun damaged while some terrain that has suffered the brunt of the stronger northwest winds are scoured down to the MLK rain crust.


Not that the snow or avalanches care, but I’m not pleased to report two more human triggered slides in the Central Wasatch that stepped below the MLK crust onto the January 8th Surface Hoar below. The details below (but with more info and pics on our Current Conditions page). Collapsing was noted in the Ogden mountains on southeast aspects yesterday.

· Along the Brighton periphery into Snake Creek just above 10,200’, two snowboarders center punch a steep east facing chute only to have the third person traversing in from the right trigger a 8” to 3’ deep and 70’ wide hard slab taking out all the previous tracks. He managed to barely get off the hard slab before it ran 800’ through treed, rocky terrain to the flats below.

· Along the Snowbird periphery above White Pine Gulch, a touring party dropped a cornice, triggering a reported 3-4’ deep and 200’ wide hard slab running 700’ into the runout zone in the White Pine Birthday Bowl/Chutes area. The slide was on a steep northeast facing slope at 10,500’. I hope to have more details on the slide by the afternoon.


      Over the next 24 hours.

I had hoped that the rain/rime event over the MLK weekend would solve all of our troubles, putting the nail in the coffin of what looked to be a menacing, tricky surface hoar layer. It’s clearly not to be and last week’s forecast, looks now, in retrospect, to be more of a wish-cast. We have a snow structure that may make my graying head and beard complete over the next month or so. How can one reconcile the facts where

· avalanches rip out while nearly every other similar slope has a high mark or ski tracks

· the third person on the slope triggers the hard slab where he crosses the track of the second skier

Let’s do a rundown of the known activity on this structure over the past week.

1. Sat. Jan 22 - Natural off Pinecone ridge North facing 9800’ 6”-4’ deep 125’ wide

2. Sat Jan 22 – Natural in West Monitor PC ridge NE 9800’ up to 3’ deep 125’ wide

3. Sun Jan 23 – Snowmobile triggered in Snake Crk NE 9800’ 1-2’ deep 125’ wide

4. Mon Jan 24 – Skier triggered in Snake Crk East 10,200’ 8”-3’ deep 75’ wide

5. Mon Jan 24 – Cornice drop in White Pine LCC NE 10,500’ 3-4’ deep 200’ wide

These are unmanageable conditions, friends, due to the inherent spatial variability of the thickness of the crusts above a continued, reactive weak layer of surface hoar and faceted snow. Look at Ian McCammon’s paper on structure – you’ll find that we have ALL 5 Lemons and continued high stored elastic energy along the weak layer. What to do? Don’t bet the farm on cornice drops. Ski and slope cuts will be dangerous at best. Learn the regions, aspects, and elevations where the structure is the worst. Practice safe travel protocol.


A weak disturbance will shower a couple of inches of snow with a strong ridge of high pressure building in through the rest of the week. Winds will be 20-25mph from the northwest becoming light tonight. Temps will be in the upper teens. A warming trend puts 10,000’ temps at freezing by late Thursday. Models suggest a storm by late in the weekend.


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.