Avalanche Advisory
Advisory: Ogden Area Mountains Issued by Drew Hardesty for Tuesday - March 1, 2016 - 6:48am
bottom line

The danger is LOW. Remember that risk is always inherent in mountain travel. While the danger for avalanches is low, keep in mind that your terrain selection may magnify the consequences of even a typically harmless sluff or wind pocket.

special announcement

The Utah Avalanche Center greatly values our longtime partnership with our world-class resorts and is blowing out the remaining donated lift tickets from Snowbird, Snowbasin, Sundance, and Nordic Valley with reduced prices. Every penny you spend benefits the Utah Avalanche Center.

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

The Wasatch Powderkeg is going on this weekend at Brighton Resort. We are offering on-snow clinics to help refresh your mountain skills or learn some new ones. This is a great way to prepare yourself for those big spring objectives! Click here for the full list of clinics and event details.

current conditions

I know that you were all on the edge of your seat wondering if we were going to get just enough snow to push us from 2nd place to 3rd place for the driest February on record. Vegas had better than 3:1 odds for it. It looked promising. We were all watching the radar, watching the sky. Indeed, snow fell from the sky, but it wasn't enough. We only needed a half inch to tie. In the end, only a trace of graupel fell - and while I've seen some large pea-size graupel in my day - it just wasn't enough to put us over the top. 2nd driest February on record. Even with the help of the extra Leap Day.

{From yesterday - You can thank today's extra day in the Leap Year. According to our colleagues at UDOT at the Alta Guard station in upper Little Cottonwood, we're neck and neck with last year for the second worst February on record. They've been keeping records since 1944/1945. Lowest on record was 34" in 1950. Last year was 34.8". As of yesterday we were at 34.4." My money is on today's trace to an inch to put us over the top for third place on the podium. Don't hold your breath for any acceptance speech.}

We have partly to mostly cloudy skies accompanying a warm front. Most of the clouds and any precip should be well north of I-80. Temps are in the mid to low 20s. Westerly to northwesterly winds continue to blow 15-20mph with gusts to 30. Gusts along the highest ridgelines remain in the 30s. Uphill travel conditions are fast and supportable; downhill travel conditions are interesting*. (*insert personal favorite spin/euphemism).

While we're waiting for it to snow - I'd recommend bookmarking Jim Steenburgh's blog - Wasatch Weather Weenies. He has some great perspectives on weather, climate, and snow conditions. Jim's a professor at the University of Utah in the Atmospheric Sciences department, has the bona fides, and is a keen backcountry skier and powder snob. His latest posts - The February Southwest Snowpack Disaster, and - of particular interest to me in regards to solar radiation - Aspect is Everything.

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

A bit slow in the avalanche news cycle these days. Still, it's recommended to travel with "Normal Caution" in the backcountry.

Other concerns? Slide for life situations in the steep terrain with hard melt freeze crusts on the east, south and westerly aspects. Cornice fall. Fillings rattling out of your teeth. Knee tweaks in the trapdoor wind-jacked terrain. The list is endless.


We'll have a few weak systems move through over the course of the week but I wouldn't expect them to add up to much or affect the avalanche conditions. For today, we'll have various cloud cover and may see perhaps a trace of precipitation, primarily in areas north of I-80. Ridgetop temps will rise to near freezing; 8000' temps will rise to the low 40s. Winds will be 20-25mph from the west and northwest. The next weak "storm" ripples through Tuesday night into Wednesday that'll bring a period of strong winds from the west but have little else to show for all the bluster. The models are hinting at a pattern shift toward a more active, progressive weather pattern by Sunday. Stay tuned.

general announcements

Remember your information can save lives. If you see anything we should know about, please help us out 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 request 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.

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 critical to know the resort policy on uphill travel.  You can see the uphill travel policy for each resort here

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.