Avalanche Advisory
Advisory: Ogden Area Mountains Issued by Drew Hardesty for Thursday - April 12, 2018 - 6:22am
bottom line

The avalanche danger will rise to MODERATE for new snow instabilities today, particularly with developing wind slabs along the mid and upper elevations. These drifts will be more pronounced on northeast to southeast facing slopes and just to the lee of the ridgelines, and potentially crossloaded beyond the subridges, spines, convexities, and other terrain features. With sustained winds, I expect drifts to become thicker and more widespread over the next 24-36 hours.

special announcement
The last regular early morning forecast will be Sunday, April 15th. We will issue updates for the Salt Lake zone with every snowfall through the rest of April.

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current conditions

Ahead of the approaching storm, winds up high are gusting into the 60s from the southwest and overnight "lows" are in the upper 30s to mid-40s. The Wildcat temp at Snowbasin (roughly 8000') is 47°F right now (5am). It's just not right. At least the cold front is on the doorstep and I expect to see snow levels dropping to the valley with this event.

recent activity


Avalanche Problem 1
type aspect/elevation characteristics
over the next 10 hours

Gusty westerly winds will accompany the at-times heavy snowfall today and continue on into the night as they slowly veer to the northwest. This is not the usual theme as the winds tend to lose steam after the cold front has moved through. It's easy to become complacent with spring storms (especially now because the old deeper slabs are dormant), but spring storms can be highly convective with quite variable conditions from drainage to drainage. Even though I expect the snow to bond fairly well to the old snow surfaces, much depends on the character of the storm.

Hot Tip! Instability and avalanche conditions spike during periods of particularly high snowfall rates. Same goes for sustained wind drifting with hourly speeds of roughly 15-30mph. The good news is that the instability should readily show its cards: Test slopes, ski cuts and the usual bag of tricks will reveal much about the snow today. Remember with ski cutting, you're moving diagonally across the slope, crossing to safety, and moving quickly from one area to the next. It can be an effective tool, but dangerous with the wrong conditions, in the wrong terrain, and by inexperienced practitioners.

Learn more about wind slabs here. Or check out a nice video by AIARE below.

Wind Slab Avalanches from AIARE Avalanche Education on Vimeo.


This should be a fairly prolonged event through tomorrow and the Ogden mountains may see upwards of 8-12" by the time it winds down Friday afternoon. Mountain temperatures will drop to the low teens this afternoon with snowfall dropping to the valleys. Winds will veer to the west and then northwest today, blowing 25-30mph...though increasing to 30-35mph tonight. A weak ridge of high pressure builds in for the weekend with another storm for later Monday and possibly again on Thursday.

general announcements


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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.