Avalanche Advisory
Advisory: Ogden Area Mountains Issued by Evelyn Lees for Sunday - December 29, 2013 - 6:55am
bottom line

There are pockets of CONSIDERABLE avalanche danger on mid and upper elevation, west through north through easterly facing slopes. These steep slopes are still not worth the gamble – chances of triggering a slide may be less each day, but the consequences are the same: a dangerous slab avalanche. Also avoid the isolated hard wind drifts that dot a few of the higher ridge lines, and could crack out beneath you.

Turning and riding conditions continue to be good on lower angle, shady slopes less steep than about 35 degrees. Always use safe travel procedures: travel one at a time in any terrain approaching 35 degrees or steeper, carry and practice with your avalanche gear, and continually reevaluate your plans and terrain choices.

special announcement

The Utah Avalanche Center along with the Montana State University Ski Tracks project combines GPS technology with detailed logbook surveys completed by participants to help us understand how and why decisions are made in the winter backcountry. Participants will use a free smartphone app to record and send us their ski routes then, they will complete a simple online survey telling us some of the features of their tour. For more information visit: www.montana.edu/snowscience/tracks

current conditions

Fog in the valleys, clear skies in the mountains. Behind yesterday’s dry cold front, temperatures are up to 20 degrees cooler than yesterday morning – mostly in the teens in the Ogden area mountains. The northwesterly winds are very light, generally less than 10 mph, with gusts along the high ridges rarely reaching 30 mph.

Breakable sun crusts glaze the sunny aspects, and they may not soften today. The shady, northerly facing slopes have a mix of soft recrystallized powder, with patches of variable bothersome rime and/or rain crusts fairly widespread in the Ogden area mountains.

recent activity

No avalanches reported from the backcountry yesterday, and no significant reports of activity from avalanche reduction work at the resorts. The one backcountry report that caught my eye: cracks in the snowpack in the Catherine’s Pass area. Photo below, observation HERE.

Avalanche Problem 1
type aspect/elevation characteristics
over the next 24 hours

It seems like even the snowpack is getting bored of the current weather pattern, and is very slowly trending toward stability. The places where a person could trigger a slide are fewer; however testing your stability theory on a specific steep slope is another matter entirely. Be wrong, and the consequences are a slab avalanche that will likely break above you and drag you on a rough, rocky ride before burying you.

It is a struggle to look at familiar terrain with new eyes, but with such an unusually weak snowpack, it’s important. The steep slope you’ve ridden a hundred times has a different snowpack right now – so hit it another day, and for now, head to the lower angle terrain.


A stable northwest flow continues, bringing clear, sunny skies to the mountains. The northwesterly winds will remain light all day, averaging less than 10 mph at most locations, and even the high peaks will only have gusts into the low 30s. Temperatures will warm into the low 20s at 8,000’ and into the low teens at 10,000’. The only break in the high pressure this week will be some clouds on Monday and Tuesday, as a weak disturbance moves through, possibly producing a few snow flurries. The first hint of any break in the high pressure is around next weekend.

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)

DAWN PATROL Hotline updated daily by 5-530am - 888-999-4019 option 8.

Twitter Updates for your mobile phone - DETAILS

UDOT canyon closures:  LINK 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 -

Lost or Found something in the backcountry? - http://nolofo.com/

Discount lift tickets are now available at Backcountry.com - Thanks to Ski Utah and the Utah Resorts.  All proceeds go towards paying for Utah Avalanche Center avalanche and mountain weather advisories.

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.

Benefit the Utah Avalanche Center when you shop from Backcountry.com or REI:  Click this link for Backcountry.com or this link to REI, shop, and they will donate a percent of your purchase price to the UAC.  Both offer free shipping (with some conditions) so this costs you nothing!

Benefit the Utah Avalanche Center when you buy or sell on ebay - set the Utah Avalanche Center as a favorite non-profit in your ebay account here and click on ebay gives when you buy or sell.  You can choose to have your seller fees donated to the UAC, which doesn't cost you a penny.

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.