Avalanche Advisory
Advisory: Ogden Area Mountains Issued by Drew Hardesty for Sunday - February 14, 2016 - 6:21am
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Most terrain has a LOW avalanche danger. I do, however, expect we'll have areas of MODERATE danger for wind slabs in open, exposed terrain. Cracking and collapsing are sure-fire indicators of localized instability. If we see more snow than expected, loose dry sluffs will run with ease and abandon on the slick underlying crusts or recrystallized snow in the steepest terrain.

Remember that your terrain choices magnify the overall risk. They may also minimize the risk. A small wind pocket on a test slope with a clean runout is quite different than that same small wind pocket above Sik-bird couloir or Trapdoor gulley.

special announcement

Check out our Garage Sale! Chock full of sweet backcountry gear - you can find the goods on our Facebook page here -

Tuesday, February 16th - Companion Rescue Clinic at Weller Recreation in Kamas from 6:30-9pm. For more info HERE.

WBSKIING: Steve Achelis has released his updated Wasatch Backcountry Skiing desktop webpage - wbskiing.com

Blog post - Guest blog post by George Vargyas, MD - Avalanche Trauma Mortality and Helmet Use. It may surprise you.

current conditions

Skies are overcast as part of the one-two punch to clear the junk out of the Wasatch front valleys. West to northwest winds remain in the moderate to strong category, blowing 15-20mph with gusts to 30. Ridgetop anemometers spin at 35mph with gusts to 50. Mountain temperatures are finally on the right side of freezing with overnight lows in the low to upper 20s.

Riding conditions will be a little, uh, scratchy and breakable on east to south to westerly aspects and northerly aspects up to 8500' or so. Expect overcast-becoming-obscured sky cover with a few inches of snow. The word 'vertigo' comes to mind.

Quick clip of Greg Gagne explaining terrain channeled wind from yesterday -

recent activity

None reported here, but to our south and east, two skiers triggered a large wet slab avalanche to the ground near Red Mountain pass not far from Silverton, Colorado. The large slide - perhaps along with the two skiers - crossed the road, leaving a debris pile estimated at 12-15' deep and up to 350' wide. No injuries reported. No vehicles along the road reportedly hit by the debris. (Photo: CAIC)

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

Keep an eye out for shooting cracks in yesterday's and today's developing wind drifts. Localized cracking was noted by observers at 9000' in the Snowbasin backcountry. The new drifts may be loaded onto patches of the old recrystallized surface snow or - less likely - areas of surface hoar and may be more sensitive than expected. Remember hard drifts may pull out above you on the slope. Less pronounced drifting and wind-effect may also be found at the mid-elevations on all aspects. (Pic: Kory Davis)


Expect periods of snow moving through on a strong, moist northwest flow. With the warm front, expect increasing densities and perhaps heavy riming with this system. We might expect 3-6" by late Monday night. There should be enough mixing of the valley air to clean out the smog. Temperatures along the ridges today will start in the low 20s, increasing to the upper 20s by tomorrow night. The northwesterlies will blow 30-35mph until early Tuesday. Clearing skies and a warming trend push ridgeline temps back to the upper 30s by Wednesday ahead of a vigorous (read: windy) storm slated for Thursday.

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.

To get help in an emergency (to launch a rescue) in the Wasatch, call 911.  Be prepared to give your GPS coordinates or the run name. Dispatchers have a copy of the Wasatch Backcountry Ski map.

Backcountry Emergencies. It outlines your step-by-step method in the event of a winter backcountry incident.

If you trigger an avalanche in the backcountry, but no one is hurt and you do not need assistance, please notify the nearest ski area dispatch to avoid a needless response by rescue teams. Thanks.

Salt Lake and Park City – Alta Central (801-742-2033), Canyons Resort/PCMR Dispatch (435)615-1911

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

Sundance Dispatch (801-223-4150)

EMAIL ADVISORY  If you would like to get the daily advisory by email you will need to subscribe here.​ 

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, 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.

Powderbird Helicopter Skiing - Blog/itinerary for the day  

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

Ski Utah mobile snow updates

To those skinning uphill at resorts:  it is your responsibility to know the resort policy on uphill travel.  You can see the uphill travel policy for each resort here. IMPORTANT: Before skinning or hiking 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.

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.