Avalanche Advisory
Advisory: Ogden Area Mountains Issued by Greg Gagne for Friday - March 25, 2016 - 6:23am
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The danger of triggering a wind drift is MODERATE today, particularly at the upper elevations where fresh wind drifts may be found on a variety of aspects. Outside of wind-affected terrain the hazard is LOW. If snowfall rates spike - particularly during the afternoon due to convective activity - the storm snow may quickly become sensitive.

special announcement

Spring powder special! We have reduced the price of donated Snowbasin lift tickets to $50 and Sundance tickets to $35, about half of window price. Take advantage of fresh powder on a fat snowpack and benefit the Utah Avalanche Center at the same time. We also have one remaining Snowbird ticket for $84. Every penny spent on these donated tickets benefits the Utah Avalanche Center.

current conditions

A cold front moved through the Wasatch overnight, with winds from both the SW and NW highlighting the show, particularly at the upper elevations where they are blowing in the 20's mph, with some gusts in the 40's mph. Winds are more moderate at the mid elevations where they are blowing in the low teens with gusts in the 20's mph.

Temperatures are on the way down and are currently in the teens and 20s F.

As of 6 am only trace amounts of new snow fell at a variety of reporting locations in the Ogden mountains.

East, South, and West aspects have sun and temperature crusts, and some low and mid-elevation north-facing slopes dampened from greenhousing yesterday and may have crusted. Although there were reports yesterday of soft, dry snow on upper elevation North aspects, some observers also noted wind damage in upper elevation exposed terrain. I imagine the winds overnight have likely further damaged the snow surface, particularly at upper elevations. [Photo D. Pease]

Weekly Summary of Snow and Weather: After a warm Sunday and Monday, a storm moved through the area early Tuesday morning with snowfall continuing through about mid-day Wednesday. By Wednesday afternoon, storm totals were between 8-16" in the Ogden mountains. During the stormy period on Tuesday, there were reports of storm snow instabilities and loose sluffs running fast and far. Accompanying this storm system was a period of northwest winds that drifted snow at some mid, but primarily upper elevations. Fresh wind slabs were the primary avalanche activity on Wednesday, with some observers triggering small 6-12" slabs. One sizeable wet slide occurred on Wednesday on a SW aspect in Hells Canyon as well, leaving 4' of wet debris. However, stability often arrives quickly during the Spring, and by Thursday we had a generally Low avalanche hazard as the wind slabs had largely settled out, and only minor wet activity reported. One longtime Ogden observer noted that lower elevations are getting bony, and that South aspects below 7000' have completely melted out.

recent activity

Only minor wet activity was reported from Thursday. Colder temperatures have locked up any damp or wet snow concerns for today. [Photo M. White]

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

For today the primary avalanche concern is fresh wind drifts. You are likely to find pockets of fresh wind drifted snow, particularly at the upper elevations, where the moderate to strong W/NW winds have likely cross-loaded slopes on all aspects.

Additionally, if we get more snow than forecasted today - especially if accompanied periods of high rates of snowfall - the new snow may quickly become sensitive to triggers.

Any wind drifts you encounter are likely to be shallow, and anticipated snowfall is forecasted to come in gradually with totals remaining on the low end.

Fortunately, fresh wind drifts as well as storm snow instabilities are easy to identify and are very manageable with ski cuts and cornice kicks. As always, before cutting a slope or dropping a cornice, make sure no one is on the slope beneath you.

Outside of wind-affected terrain the avalanche hazard is LOW.


Today should feel pleasantly winter-like with cloudy skies and temperatures in the low 30's F at lower and mid elevations, and in the low 20's F at upper elevations. Winds are expected to subside by the early morning, but still blow in the 20's mph along upper elevation ridgelines. Snowfall amounts are difficult to predict, but it is likely several inches may add up throughout the day and we may see 6" total by the evening hours.

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.

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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.

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.