Avalanche Advisory

Turnagain Area Avalanche Advisory
Friday, November 16th 2018 14:00 pm by CNFAIC Staff
ARCHIVED ADVISORY - All advisories expire after 24 hours from the posting date/time.
Previous Forecast
The Bottom Line

  2018/2019 winter avalanche season has begun!

The CNFAIC will be issuing intermittent snow and avalanche updates as conditions warrant through mid-November. Daily avalanche forecasts are planned to begin on Thanksgiving weekend - unless we see more snow and avalanche issues before this demanding an earlier start. 

 *Early season folks:  Please send us your snow/avalanche reports so we can post them on our observation page. Thank you to all those who have submitted already! Simply click 'submit observation' under the Observation tab above. This is a huge benefit for the community and our forecasters. Make sure to like us on Facebook and follow us on Instagram for our most up to date information.

Friday Nov. 16 update:

This week we had a few clear days to look around Turnagain Pass and Summit Lake after a big rain event ended Monday (Nov 12.) Sadly a lot of snow washed away leaving our mountains naked from the waist down. Another round of warm and wet weather is expected this weekend with Sunday thru Monday being the wettest.  Rain/snow line may reach above 3000' on Sunday with 1-2" of rain in the forecast. East ridgetops winds have been moderate (20-30mph) and will continue thru Sunday as the next storm system moves through our region. We're keeping our fingers crossed that temperatures cool near the end of the storm and snow line moves into lower elevations. Check back here on Tuesday morning to see what happens. #hopeforsnow 

In the Alpine, above 2500', a layered snowpack is gradually increasing in depth. If you're thinking of make the hike be aware of changing weather and be on the lookout for these red flag warnings: 

  1. Recent avalanches
  2. Cracks in the snow that shoot out from you
  3. Whumpfing (collapsing) of the snowpack
  4. Rapid changes in weather (snow/rain/wind/temperature)


Southwest aspect of Tincan Common Bowl on Nov.14, photo by Aleph Johnston-Bloom



 East facing slopes of Seattle Ridge, Nov.14, photo by Aleph Johnston-Bloom


 North and West aspects of Magnum. Click HERE for an observation and more photos by Aleph Johnston-Bloom from Nov.14, 2018


Southwest face of Tenderfoot on Nov.13 in the Summit Lake area. Check out more photos of and an avalanche observation by Alex McLain HERE


 Show the Complete North American Avalanche Danger Scale
0 NO RATING Alpine / Above 2,500'
0 NO RATING Treeline / 1,000'-2,500'
0 NO RATING Below Treeline / Below 1,000'
Special Announcement


Wednesday, Nov 21st: Snowmachine throwback film fundraiser - "2 Stroke Cold Smoke"!

7 - 10pm, 49th State Brewing Co Anchorage. Kick off the riding season, connect with CNFAIC and learn about snowmachine specific avalanche awareness/course opportunities with a 'throwback film' night!!  

$20 tickets are available HERE and at Alaska Mining and Diving Supplies, A2D Motorsports and Anchorage Yamaha Polaris 

Avalanche Problem 1

We are focusing each update on one of the Know Before You Go's 'GETS'.  Today's GET is GET THE FORECAST!  (Know Before You Go video link in case you haven't seen it.)

The danger scale is a starting point in your daily planning process. This is where you go to learn about current avalanche conditions and if the weather is adding to instability. In Alaska there are many areas that do not have an avalanche forecast and some popular areas that do. Turnagain Pass, Hatcher Pass and Thompson Pass all have avalanche forecasts. Before heading out, know if there is a forecast for the place you are going and check it! A map for the CNFAIC Turnagain Pass forecast area is on the home page of this website. Other avalanche forecasts can be found at these links:  Hatcher Pass Avalanche Center and the Valdez Avalanche Center. Keep in mind, avalanche danger can vary widely from one place to the next, it is not safe to extrapolate danger ratings to areas outside the forecast zones.

Check out this informative tutorial about the North American Danger Scale. Pay close attention to the discussion on travel advice and the importance of understanding avalanche terrain. 


Why do most avalanche fatalities occur when the danger is CONSIDERABLE?  This is often the first 24-48 hours after a storm event when the weather is calm, but the snowpack has not yet adjusted to the new snow load. As the season unfolds, don't forget this very important rule of thumb. 

Mountain Weather

For weather information during these updates, see:

CNFAIC Weather Page

NWS Mountain Recreation Forecast 


This is a general backcountry avalanche advisory issued for Turnagain Arm with Turnagain Pass as the core advisory area (this advisory does not apply to highways, railroads, or operating ski areas).

Winter snowmachine use open/closed status and riding conditions updates

Riding status is not associated with avalanche danger. An area will be open to motorized use in accordance to the Forest Management Plan when snow coverage is adequate to protect underlying vegetation. Backcountry hazards including avalanche hazard are always present regardless of the open status of motorized use areas.

(Updated: May 06, 2018 )

Glacier District
Johnson Pass: ClosedClosed as of April 20th
Placer River: ClosedClosed as of April 17th
Skookum Drainage: ClosedClosed as of April 1st.
Turnagain Pass: ClosedClosed as of May 7th. Happy summer, see ya when the snow flies!
Twentymile: ClosedClosed as of April 13th
Seward District
Carter Lake: ClosedClosed as of 4/27
Lost Lake Trail: ClosedClosed as of April 13th
Primrose Trail: ClosedClosed as of April 13th
Resurrection Pass Trail: ClosedClosed as of April 20th
Snug Harbor: ClosedClosed as of 4/27
South Fork Snow River Corridor: ClosedClosed as of April 13th
Summit Lake: ClosedClosed as of April 20th

Subscribe to the Turnagain Area Avalanche Advisory:

The information in this advisory is from the U.S. Forest Service, which is solely responsible for its content. This advisory describes general avalanche conditions and local variations always occur. This advisory provided by the Chugach National Forest, in partnership with Friends of the Chugach National Forest Avalanche Information Center.

If you have comments or questions regarding CNFAIC operations or winter recreation management, please email
© 2018 Chugach National Forest Avalanche Information Center. All rights reserved.