Avalanche Advisory
Advisory: Ogden Area Mountains Issued by Greg Gagne for Friday - April 1, 2016 - 7:12am
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LOW hazard this morning, rising to MODERATE as the sun warms the snow surface. The change from Low to Moderate may occur very quickly - so be aware of rapidly changing conditions.

special announcement

Thanks for all the generous donations from the Love Utah/Give Utah fundraising event towards the Utah Avalanche Center. Your donations help us with issuing avalanche advisories, outreach, and education. All part of our mission to keep you on top of the greatest snow on earth!

Congratulations to retired UAC forecaster Tom Kimbrough on the publication of "A Slidepath Runs Through It" - which describes his nearly 50 year career as a ski patroller and snow safety worker. I especially appreciated reading Tom's stories as he developed the first avalanche forecast program for his home state of Tennessee.

current conditions

Temperatures are currently in the teens and twenties, and winds are out of the north/northwest, blowing in the teens with gusts in the 20's mph. Skies are clear.

>> A few inches of snow fell during the day on Thursday in the Ogden mountains, on top of the storm totals of 16-24" from earlier this week.

>> Many snow surfaces dampened yesterday afternoon, and are likely to be crusted this morning at lower and mid elevations. Upper elevation north aspects were soft and dry yesterday, and I am expecting them to remain so for today.

>> The northerly winds have been blowing overnight and have likely drifted upper elevation southerly aspects, with some possible cross loading onto northerly aspects as well. I suspect these drifts are shallow and not that widespread, and easily manageable with ski cuts. [Photo: Bill Hunt]

recent activity

The only avalanche activity in the Ogden mountains reported from Thursday were damp rollerballs and loose, natural avalanches at lower and mid elevations. Bill Hunt provided an excellent observation from the Snowbasin backcountry on Thursday.

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

The greatest concern for today and this coming weekend is heat-related activity. Temperatures aren't expected to be all that warm today, and the winds will help keep the snow surface cool. But once the sun comes out I expect the snow surface to quickly become active with rollerballs and loose wet snow. Wet, natural activity is certain on all solar aspects, and lower and some mid-elevation north aspects are likely to be active as well. Any wind drifted snow from northerly winds overnight may also become sensitive as it warms. The storm snow from this past week is sitting on top of thick crusts on east, south, and west aspects which may provide an easy bed surface for wet slides to run on.

The forecasted Moderate hazard could easily become Considerable on steep, sunny aspects. Fortunately, wet avalanche activity is very easy to identify and manage: signs of instability include pinwheels and rollerballs. Be sure to get off of and out from underneath snow surfaces as they warm today. I am expecting upper elevation northerly aspects to remain soft and dry today, which should provide good ski conditions in generally safe terrain. Pay attention for wet activity in lower elevation north aspects, particularly if you are exiting during the afternoon hours.

[Photos of wet, loose natural activity and rollerballs: Mark White]


Temperatures will be in the low 40's F at lower elevations, and just below freezing at upper elevations. Winds will be from the north and generally light, although some gusts may blow in the teens at the upper elevations. Wind speeds are expected to diminish throughout the day. Skies will be clear this morning, and partly cloudy along the peak tops in the afternoon. Warming conditions throughout the weekend as a ridge moves overhead.

Promising signs of a storm on about Tuesday/Wednesday of this week, but with a current discrepancy in the different models, it is too hard to place much faith in the forecast at this point.

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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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.