The Avalanche of 1929

Children and parents standing on top of the avalanche in 1929.

Imagine you’re on the mountain and suddenly you hear what sounds like the distant rumbling of a train. The sound grows louder, whatever it is rushes closer, and you realize it’s an avalanche!

In 1929, there was an avalanche that rumbled down fromBen Lomond, past 3100 north near 900 east, and covered the area that is now the Bates Elementary east playground. Thankfully, no one was hurt. The snow would have buried many homes that have since been built above the school.

Avalanche danger comes on slopes between angles of 30 and 45 degrees, which is the ideal angle for skiing and snowboarding. Slopes with a steeper or more gradual pitch are less conducive to avalanches. They occur when snow accumulates on a weak layer that has previously fallen and there is a sudden change that triggers it. This could include a change in temperature, wind, or the weight of a person gliding across the surface layer.

Avalanches can be very dangerous, especially to those who frequent the backcountry in the mountains. They can reach speeds of up to 80mph, and the once fluffy snow is more like cement when it settles. Whether you’re skiing, snowboarding, or snowmobiling, having the right gear and instincts that are trained to respond will help keep you and your group stay safe while having fun. has an excellent free online training course to help people learn what they need to know before they go.

North Ogden has also seen many large snow drifts where the wind heaps up deep banks of snow. One drift was almost deep enough to cover a telephone pole. The photo here shows the roof of the Barker chicken coop peeking out of the drift in 1949. They had to dig their way in to get to the chickens!

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