Avalanche Advisory

Turnagain Area Avalanche Advisory
Forecaster:   CNFAIC Staff  
Tuesday, October 17th 2017
Created: Oct 16th 14:22 pm
0 NO RATING Alpine / Above 2,500'
0 NO RATING Treeline / 1,000'-2,500'
0 NO RATING Below Treeline / Below 1,000'
 Show the Complete North American Avalanche Danger Scale
Special Announcement

WELCOME to the 2017/2018 winter season!!

After a long summer break and with a dusting of snow on the peaks, the CNFAIC is opening the office doors for another (hopefully very snowy) winter! All staff are returning this season and everyone will be on board in November. Snow and avalanche updates will be posted intermittently as conditions warrant. Remember, you can subscribe to our email list at the bottom of this page if you have not done so already. Daily avalanche forecasts are planned to begin during Thanksgiving week - unless we are blessed with abundant early season snowfall demanding an earlier start.


This Thursday, Oct 19th

Matchstick Productions DROP EVERYTHING 

Shows at 7pm & 9pm at the Wendy Williamson auditorium. Doors open 15-20min prior. See the AWESOME trailer at 

This will be an action packed evening of fun and fundraising for the Alaska Avalanche School and the Friends of the Chugach National Forest Avalanche Information Center. Amazing raffle prizes will be there as always!  

Tickets on sale HERE.


Thursday, Nov 2nd


7pm, 49th State Brewing Co Anchorage. Kick off the riding season, connect with CNFAIC and learn about snowmachine specific avalanche awareness/course opportunities with a 'Throw Back Thursday' premiere of Turnagain hardcore 6 - Higher!!  

Tickets on sale HERE.


Friday November 3rd

5th Annual Southcentral Alaska Avalanche Workshop

9am - 4:30pm, Alaska Pacific University.  Join us for the 5th annual SAAW. Alaska’s southcentral avalanche community will team up with snow professionals from around the region, Colorado and Wyoming to share knowledge and advancements. This is a 'must attend' event for avalanche professionals and an excellent way for recreational backcountry users to delve into advanced avalanche topics! 

Preregistration closes on Thursday, November 2nd at 6pm. After that, you can get tickets for $20 at the door between 8:30 and 9am. Lunch, coffee, snacks and a post workshop 'beer social' at the Avalanche School is included. Full schedule and registration HERE.


Thursday, Nov 16th

8pm, Annual Beartooth CNFAIC Fundraiser:  An Evening with the Smileys

Mark and Janelle Smiley are a husband-wife duo that have spent the last seven years climbing the "50 Classic Climbs of North America". Their presentation will feature incredible footage and stories from four of their journeys in Alaska. Tickets are $25 and will be available starting Oct. 24 at the Bear Tooth website and box office. 

The Bottom Line

Thanks to stormy weather during the first week of October, followed by another quick storm on Friday the 13th (of October), a dusting of snow sits above 2,500' in the mountains near Turnagain Pass, Girdwood and on the Kenai. Although we've had a few folks report finding enough snow to ski/snowboard at the high elevations on glaciers, it has been Hatcher Pass with the most snow and subsequently, the most popular location last weekend. For those headed that way, check out HPAC's facebook page for early season reports.

Early season folks:  Please send us your reports so we can post them on our observation page! Simply click 'submit observation' under the Observation tab above. This is a huge benefit for the community and our forecasters. Remember, early season avalanches happen. A very shallow snowpack with rocks protruding can give us a false sense of security. A common set up is a thin layer of weak old snow with a layer of hard wind blown snow on top. Maybe this harder layer only exists on the upper part of a slope and releases as one ascends onto it? Maybe not? But the point is, be aware and don't forget there are countless ways in which a layer of snow can slide. Tragically, two lives were lost in Montana a week ago due to an early season avalanche. One life in the avalanche and one the next day as the partner took his own life overcome with grief. The ripple effect of avalanche accidents is severe, as anyone that has been involved with a fatality knows. Please take a few minutes this week and read the full accident report HERE. As we embark on this season, let's remember to be aware and prepared, returning to the parking lot and our family and friends is number 1.

Although winter is on its way, this week's weather looks mostly clear with no precipitation forecast. This is a great time to make sure your avalanche rescue gear is in order. This means making sure your shovel and probe assemble properly and no parts are rusted and/or worn out. Your beacon has fresh batteries and your terminals are not corroded. Brush up on how to use your avalanche beacon - turn it on, does it pick up another beacon properly and vice versa? And lastly for now, check out the upcoming avalanche courses in your area! 

Photo:  Seattle Ridge webcam image, looking South over Turnagain Pass on Monday, October 16th.


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 16, 2017 )

Glacier District
Johnson Pass: Closed
Placer River: Closed
Skookum Drainage: Closed
Turnagain Pass: ClosedThanks all for a safe and fun season on the Chugach NF! Stay tuned for the 2017/18 season. #playsafe #snowtosealevel
Twentymile: Closed
Seward District
Carter Lake: Closed
Lost Lake Trail: Closed
Primrose Trail: Closed
Resurrection Pass Trail: ClosedResurrection Pass trail will be open to snowmachine use during the 2017/18 winter season.
Snug Harbor: Closed
South Fork Snow River Corridor: Closed
Summit Lake: Closed

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
© 2017 Chugach National Forest Avalanche Information Center. All rights reserved.