Avalanche Advisory

Turnagain Area Avalanche Advisory
Forecaster:   John Fitzgerald  
Wednesday, April 2nd 2014
Created: Apr 2nd 6:06 am
1 Low Alpine / Above 2,500' Travel Advice: Generally safe avalanche conditions. Watch for unstable snow on isolated terrain features.
1 Low Treeline / 1,000'-2,500' Travel Advice: Generally safe avalanche conditions. Watch for unstable snow on isolated terrain features.
1 Low Below Treeline / Below 1,000' Travel Advice: Generally safe avalanche conditions. Watch for unstable snow on isolated terrain features.
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The Bottom Line

The avalanche danger is LOW today.  Avalanches are unlikely.  Exceptions to this will be in the form of cornice fall and low volume loose snow avalanches in very steep terrain.

Primary Concern

Snow is in a constant state of change.  The rate of change is what matters most when considering avalanche potential.  When snow is forced to change rapidly, it responds by fracturing.  When weak layers have time, in our case over two weeks, to adjust to change (loading), avalanche activity tends to be minimal or non existent.  

The changes that have been occurring and could have an impact on snowmachiners, skiers and snowboarders today are:

These sometimes giant masses of snow sit precariously above many slopes.  Cornices are slowly bowing to the forces of gravity.  Knowing exactly when they will succumb to these forces and release is difficult to predict.  As such, it is important to avoid being on or under them.  This is important when assessing terrain from the bottom as well as from above.cornice

Faceting-Loose snow avalanches
The surface snow on mainly shaded aspects has been slowly “rotting” away.  This has been gradually improving riding conditions in certain areas.  It is also creating the potential for very low volume sluffing in very steep terrain.  This issue is minor for now.  Remember to be on the lookout for loose snow moving, especially if you are in steep and exposed terrain.  The volume is generally too low to be an issue for snowmachines but could have an effect on skiers and snowboarders.

Both of these issues are relatively straightforward and can be managed by practicing good travel habits.  Expose only one person at a time, use islands of safety when stopping in steep terrain, avoid cornices, and communicate plans within your group effectively.

“Heads Up” conditions in steep terrain
There are plenty of steep slopes with firm surfaces that require a healthy amount of careful and focused travel.  A fall in steep terrain could result in loss of control of a snowmachine or be difficult for skiers or snowboarders to arrest.  Pay attention to the snow surface and learn how to anticipate surface conditions by the look and texture of the snow before you are on it.

Mountain Weather

Déjà vu, (/ˌdeɪʒɑː ˈvuː/) from French, literally "already seen", is the phenomenon of having the strong sensation that an event or experience currently being experienced has been experienced in the past, whether it has actually happened or not.

Yesterday was a carbon copy (more or less) of the previous 15 days.  Clear skies, calm wind, and moderate temperatures prevailed.  Temperatures at the Sunburst station (3,812’) averaged 22 degrees F with East winds averaging 5 mph (max gust of 15 mph).

Today expect the same conditions as yesterday.  Clear skies, calm wind and temps at 1,000’ reaching into the mid to high 30s F.

The stubborn High pressure that has brought us pleasant weather is slowly breaking down.  A series of Lows out over the Aleutians will begin to eat away at the blocking ridge.  Look for clouds to be on the increase and a chance for snow and rain as we head into the weekend.

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: Apr 11, 2017 )

Glacier District
Johnson Pass: OpenPlease park on road in and leave the turnaround (near outhouse) open for trailers to turn around.
Placer River: OpenWide swaths of open river in the Placer Valley. Travel with extreme caution!
Skookum Drainage: ClosedSKOOKUM DRAINAGE CLOSED TO MOTORIZED USE ON APRIL 1 annually as per the Chugach National Forest Plan document.
Turnagain Pass: Open
Twentymile: ClosedClosed for the remainder of the 2017 season.
Seward District
Carter Lake: Open
Lost Lake Trail: OpenPlease STAY ON existing and hardened trail surface through the lower sections of this route.
Primrose Trail: OpenPlease STAY ON existing and hardened trail surface through the lower sections of this route.
Resurrection Pass Trail: ClosedClosed for 2016/17 winter season. This is a non-motorized season. This alternates every other year and will open again during the 2017/18 winter.
Snug Harbor: Open
South Fork Snow River Corridor: Open
Summit Lake: Open

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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
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