Avalanche Advisory
Advisory: Ogden Area Mountains Issued by Brett Kobernik for Thursday - December 12, 2013 - 7:09am
bottom line

The overall avalanche danger is MODERATE however there is still a CONSIDERABLE avalanche danger on slopes steeper than 35 degrees that face west through north through east. Human triggered avalanches are still likely in these areas.

special announcement

Brett Kobernik will be hosting a Fireside Avalanche Chat at Black Diamond this Thursday, 7:30pm. He will discuss the formation of our early season weak layers, speculate on future persistent weak layer trends and talk about how to manage the situation in the backcountry.

current conditions

Overnight mountain temperatures were in the mid 20s with light southwest winds and clear skies and fairly low relative humidity. Good conditions for near surface faceting.

recent activity

Drew Hardesty was doing field work in the Ogden area mountains on Wednesday and triggered a slab avalanche that broke into weak faceted snow.

Date Region Place Trigger Depth Width Aspect Elevation Weakness
12/11/2013 Ogden Snowbasin Backcountry Skier 16" 40 Northeast 7200 Facets Details
Avalanche Problem 1
type aspect/elevation characteristics
over the next 24 hours

While looking at recent avalanches on Monday, I inadvertently kicked off a ski into an adjacent starting zone of a north facing avalanche path that hasn't avalanched. The ski is still there. My plan is to let the snowpack settle for a number of days before attempting to retrieve it. Even then, I will most likely use a rope.

The point here is that even though I desperately want the ski back, there's no way to justify trying to get it just yet. With what looks like about a week of no snow, the newest slab will settle and become less sensitive. The underlying faceted snow will adjust to the weight of the recent snow. The newest slab itself will probably loose some cohesion due to the slow near surface faceting process. If this process is pronounced enough, the newest slab (our current snow surface) will become part of the series of weak layers that we've been accumulating so far this season.

I'll probably go try to retrieve my ski early next week some time.


We have a nice day in store with sunny skies, light southwest winds and temperatures in the mid 20s to low 30s. A storm will move through on Friday but probably won't do much more than cool temperatures and produce a snow flurry or two.

As it looks now, we will go into a dry northwest flow following Friday's disturbance. This dry pattern will last through most of next week. This is faceting weather. This is a blow that our already weak snowpack doesn't need.

There is trough (storm system) that is shaping up for around the 19th. However, the GFS weather model (image below) now suggests this system may split. The good news is that the European model has it more intact still, albeit not all that moist.

general announcements

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.

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 and Park City – Alta Central (801-742-2033), Canyons Resort Dispatch (435-615-3322)

Snowbasin Resort Dispatch (801-620-1017), Powder Mountain Dispatch (801-745-3772 x 123).

Sundance Dispatch (801-231-4150)

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UDOT canyon closuresLINK TO UDOT

Utah Avalanche Center mobile app - Get your advisory on your iPhone along with great navigation and rescue tools.

We'll soon be lining up a new automated emailed advisory delivery system - stay tuned.

Wasatch Powderbird Guides Blog/Itinerary for the Day.  They'll be up and running later this winter -

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To those skinning uphill at resorts:  it is your responsibility to know the resort policy on uphill travel.  Some allow uphill travel and have guidelines, some don't. Contact the Ski Patrol at each resort for details. IMPORTANT: Before skinning at a resort under new snow conditions, check in with Ski Patrol.  Resorts can restrict or cut off access if incompatible with control and grooming operations.

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Remember your information can save lives. If you see anything we should know about, please participate in the creation of our own community avalanche advisory by submitting snow and avalanche conditions. You can also call us at 801-524-5304 or 800-662-4140, email by clicking HERE, or include #utavy in your tweet or Instagram.