Ogden Avalanche Advisory

Forecaster: Drew Hardesty


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

Danger Rose Tutorial

We continue to have a mostly MODERATE danger in the backcountry. Isolated areas of CONSIDERABLE danger pocket the steep upper elevation northerly through easterly facing terrain. Unmanageable human triggered avalanches remain possible. Heightened avalanche conditions exist on specific terrain features. Evaluate snow and terrain carefully.


All the pre-frontal signs are there - the southwesterly winds have ramped up yesterday and are currently 35-40mph with gusts to 60. Temperatures are at or just below freezing along the ridgelines and never dropped below 32 degrees at many of our mid-elevation sites. Riding conditions are a mixed bag of pleasure and pain. Mostly pain. It's all about to change this week. I expect we'll be in Avalanche Warning criteria by mid to late week.


There were no reports of significant new avalanches from the backcountry yesterday, just some isolated cracking and some intentional sluffing of the weak surface snow.

Little has changed however. We still have poor snowpack structure...with storms - finally - on the horizon. To look at the future, we need only look north. New Year's storms easily crushed the weak snowpacks of the Tetons and Montana. The result? - 3 fatalities in Montana and a few 'nine-lives' lost in the Tetons.


      Over the next 24 hours.

These persistent slabs have been around since before the New Year...a testament to the "historically weak" snowpack structure that will soon provide plenty of avalanches with the upcoming storms. Many of these hard slabs have been triggered remotely with pieces of the crown pulling back onto lower (<30 degree) slope angles. Collapsing and cracking offer one piece of puzzle, Greg Gagne's foray and choice snow tests in upper Broads Fork of BCC confirms the unstable structure.


      Over the next 24 hours.

There's little snow to blow around...but every time I say this I am impressed at how the wind has been able to erode windward snow and/or find a 'secret stash' to drift. Even the small drifts in protected terrain may gouge more deeply into the older unsupportable faceted snowpack on the way down. See Mark White's photos of yesterday's winds.


Partly cloudy will give way to mostly cloudy skies today ahead of a sharp and vigorous cold front, due to arrive tomorrow morning. For today, temps will be near freezing along the ridgelines and in the mid to upper 30s at 8000'. The southwesterlies will continue to blow 30mph with gusts to 50. Tomorrow's cold front should provide perhaps 2-5" of dry cold smoke while dropping 10,000' temps to near zero.

By late Wednesday, we see a series of wet, warm and very windy weather system. Avalanche conditions should spike - and remain dangerous through the weekend and beyond.


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)

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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UDOT canyon closures UDOTat (801) 975-4838

Wasatch Powderbird Guides are suspending the opening of helicopter skiing operations. Once we have enough snow cover, daily updates to this bloghttp://powderbird.blogspot.com/will begin for the 2011-2012 season.

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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.