Avalanche Advisory
Advisory: Ogden Area Mountains Issued by Evelyn Lees for Saturday - December 9, 2017 - 6:28am
bottom line

The avalanche danger is LOW – but small avalanches can be triggered in isolated areas or extreme terrain, most likely on an upper elevation slope facing northwest through east. Small wind slabs, shallow sluffs or a small slide breaking a foot deep into older snow are possible, though unlikely, on steep slopes. Any ride will likely involve hitting damaging rocks or stumps. The snow pack is very shallow - riding on lower angle, grassy slopes will reduce the number of rocks and stumps you will hit.

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Snowbasin is open! They have a few runs open and are working hard to add more.

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Please abide by the uphill travel policies of the ski resorts. Info here.

current conditions

It's a beautiful day to head to the mountains, with clear skies, warming temperatures and light northwesterly winds, in the 5 to 10 mph range. Wind speeds have even dropped across the highest ridges. The graph below shows wind speeds on Mount Ogden - now only 20 mph, the lowest speeds in the last 2 days. Temperatures are marching upward, already in the upper 20s to mid 30s at the mid and upper elevations. Cold air is still pooled in the valley bottom, where temperatures are still clinging to teens.

Snow conditions overall still remain very thin. The best turning conditions right now are at the highest elevations, on low angle slopes that are grassy or smooth underneath. But access continues to be difficult, and you will hit rocks and stumps. If you are on a sled, it'd be wise to stick to the roads and not chance banging up your machine.

The pit below is from Wednesday, on an 8800' NNE facing slope. Read the full observation here.

recent activity

No new avalanches reported from the Ogden area mountains.

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

LOW danger doesn’t mean NO danger. Small avalanches can still be triggered in isolated places or radical terrain.

The most likely slide to trigger in the Ogden area mountains would be a wind drift or wind slab. Several days of stronger, north to northeasterly winds this week left behind hard, shallow wind drifts, mostly at the higher elevations and along ridge lines. Avoid travel on these hard, shallow, cracky wind drifts, which are cross-loaded onto a variety of aspects, though steep, upper elevation slopes facing northwest through easterly are most suspect.

Persistent weak layers – the snowpack consists of weak crusts and sugary faceted layers on the shady upper elevation slopes. These are the number one concern for the future. But until we get additional weight from new snow on top, these layers are mostly dormant. It’s eye opening to quickly dig a pit and check out what really weak snow looks like.

Loose Snow Sluffs – as the snow surface facets and weakens, watch out for triggering shallow, loose snow sluffs on steep slopes.


The high pressure over Utah isn’t budging, so a series of copycat days is on the way, with sunny skies and warm temperatures in the mountains through midweek and beyond. Temperatures each day will warm into the upper 30s to mid 40s, with the overnight low dipping into 20s. The northerly winds will average 5 to 15 mph, with the highest peaks averaging 20 to 25 mph.

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 .

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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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.

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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 occur.