Avalanche Advisory
Advisory: Ogden Area Mountains Issued by Evelyn Lees for Saturday - January 17, 2015 - 7:10am
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The avalanche danger is MODERATE today for triggering a wind drift, or wind slab on all mid and upper elevations slopes. The hard, cracky wind drifts will be most widespread on the north through southeasterly facing slopes, in the upper elevation terrain. But you will be able to find and trigger these wind drifts in the mid elevation terrain, too. Avoid all steep slopes with drifts of wind blown snow and stay well back from the corniced ridge lines.

A search for wind sheltered, shady terrain may reward you with both safer terrain and dense, but soft powder.

current conditions

The skies have cleared and temperatures are dropping, with readings in the teens at most elevations. The winds are finally dropping off, too. They have shifted to the northwest, and average speeds have decreased into the 10 to 20 mph range at most locations. Yesterday and overnight, the wind direction varied from southwest to westerly, averaging 35 to 45 mph, with gusts in the 50s and 60s across the highest peaks. A trace to an inch of snow fell overnight.

The wind has changed the landscape – soft powder will be hard to find in the wind scoured and drifted terrain; the sunny slopes were already covered in breakable crusts.

recent activity

In the Ogden area mountains, a wind slab was triggered in Birch Creek - 60 to 75’ across, on a WNW facing slope. Snow safety teams found touchy wind slabs along the ridge lines, releasing with explosives and ski cuts.

Brant photo of Birch Creek slide - "photo shows where the slab released from the tree on the left to the rock on the right"

Ogden 01/16/2015 Observation: Birch Creek Bill Brandt, Lee Fortin, BC Details
Ogden 01/16/2015 Observation: Cutler Ridge Bruce Tremper Details
Avalanche Problem 1
type aspect/elevation characteristics
over the next 12 hours

Expect to find a tricky mix of both stubborn and sensitive wind slabs today, widespread along the high ridge lines and in upper elevation terrain, more scattered in mid elevation terrain. The stubborn hard slabs will let you get out on to them before breaking above you; the more sensitive wind slabs could be remotely triggered from a distance or from below.

While the wind slabs will be most widespread on northeast through southeasterly facing slopes and ridges, look for them on a variety of aspects. Down in open bowls, snow could be loaded near features such as slope breakovers, sub-ridges and gully walls. Cornices will be sensitive, and break back further than expected.

Try to identify the wind slabs by sight - by their pillowy, rounded or wavy shapes. Shooting cracks and collapsing are signs you’ve found a wind drift.


High pressure is building back into the area, and there should be a mostly sunny start to the day. Then, clouds will increase again later today and tonight, as another storm passes to the north of the state. Temperatures today will be in the teens along the high ridges and warm to near 40 at 8,000’. Hopefully, the northwesterly winds will follow the forecast and continue to decrease into the 10 -15 mph range, with only the highest peaks still averaging to 30 mph, and gusting in the 30s and 40s.

A series of weak disturbances will bring intermittent clouds and a chance for occasional light snow Sunday through the week.

general announcements

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, email by clicking HERE, or include #utavy in your tweet or Instagram.

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 (801-223-4150)

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

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UDOT canyon closures:  LINK TO UDOT, or on Twitter, follow @UDOTavy, @CanyonAlerts or @AltaCentral

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

Wasatch Powderbird Guides Blog/Itinerary for the Day.  

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

Ski Utah mobile snow updates

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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 exist.