Avalanche Advisory

Turnagain Area Avalanche Advisory
Wednesday, March 9th 2016 7:00 am by Aleph Johnston-Bloom
ARCHIVED ADVISORY - All advisories expire after 24 hours from the posting date/time.
Previous ForecastNext Forecast
The Bottom Line

The avalanche hazard is MODERATE today above 1,000’.  Glide cracks continue to release and threaten a substantial amount of terrain frequented by skiers and snowmachiners in the mid-elevations. Time to say it again as we in are in active glide cycle, 'DON'T MESS WITH THE BROWN FROWN!' In the Alpine, surface instabilities such as shallow wind slabs and loose snow avalanches are still possible and travel on or underneath cornices should be avoided.

Check out the new video from the Forest Service National Avalanche Center explaining the North American Avalanche Danger Scale. Click HERE.


 Show the Complete North American Avalanche Danger Scale
2 Moderate Alpine / Above 2,500' Travel Advice: Heightened avalanche conditions on specific terrain features. Evaluate snow and terrain carefully; identify features of concern.
2 Moderate Treeline / 1,000'-2,500' Travel Advice: Heightened avalanche conditions on specific terrain features. Evaluate snow and terrain carefully; identify features of concern.
0 NO RATING Below Treeline / Below 1,000'
Special Announcement

Tune-up your avalanche skills for Spring Break! Know Before You GO!

Thursday, March 10th we are offering a FREE Avalanche Awareness Class at the Girdwood Community Center from 6:30-8:00 pm. This is sponsored by Powderhound Ski Shop. For more info click HERE. Join CNFAIC avalanche specialist Heather Thamm for a great intro to avalanche education.

Saturday, March 12th join us at Turnagain Pass for a FREE Avalanche Rescue Workshop from 11 am-12:30 pm at the motorized lot on Turnagain Pass. This class is open to everyone. Please bring your beacon, shovel and probe. For more info click HERELook for the blue CNFAIC Avalanche trailer. We hope to see you all there!

Avalanche Problem 1

This has been an active week so far with glide avalanches releasing in popular terrain on the motorized and non-motorized sides of the highway. Yesterday we received a report that the Cornbicuit glide crack released recently; it is worth checking out the observation. This type of avalanche would be unsurvivable. Luckily they are avoidable. Steer clear of existing glide cracks. 



Looking down the path of the Cornbiscuit glide avalanche. Photo: Chad Saetre

Close up of the Seattle Ridge glide avalanche crown. There is still more glide crack that could release.

Avalanche Problem 2

It is still possible to find a shallow pocket of wind slab in steep leeward terrain. These will be most hazardous if you happen to trigger one in a high consequence spot that takes you for a ride over a cliff or into a terrain trap. Look for old stiff pillowed snow and cracking or hollow sounds while traveling. 

Loose snow: Loose snow sluffing will warrant management today if skiing the steeps.  Sluffs have been reported to be fast moving with the ability to entrain a significant amount of surface snow in big terrain.  This will be more pronounced on cooler, shadier North aspects. 

If the sun shines on southerly slopes it may be possible to get some surface snow moving as it warms and have wet loose snow activity. 


The Seattle Ridge Weather Station is back online after a de-riming mission. Check out the weather link for any recent wind loading HERE.

Additional Concern

Avoid travel on or underneath the large cornices that loom over much of the leeward Alpine terrain. We continue to receive reports of these releasing naturally and you definitely do not want to trigger one on your snowmachine or skis. They often break much farther back than you expect and additionally there may be a deep cornice crack along the ridgeline to fall into. 

Mountain Weather

Yesterday was described as a little bit of everything from completely obscured to patches of blue sky and sun. Temperatures were in the mid 20Fs and easterly winds were light. 

Today is forecasted to be partly to mostly cloudy with temperatures in the mid 20Fs to mid 30Fs and light easterly winds. Tonight and tomorrow will be similar with minor cooling overnight. 

As we move into the weekend there is a chance of snow as the low in the Gulf spins some moisture into the advisory area but overall the weather looks to be fairly benign. 


PRECIPITATION 24-hour data (6am - 6am)

  Temp Avg (F) Snow (in) Water (in) Snow Depth (in)
Center Ridge (1880') 34   0 135 
Summit Lake (1400') 33  0 0 43 
Alyeska Mid (1700') 32  trace  trace 107 


RIDGETOP 24-hour data (6am - 6am)

  Temp Avg (F) Wind Dir Wind Avg (mph) Wind Gust (mph)
Sunburst (3812') 23   ENE 10  31 
Seattle Ridge(2400') 25  ESE*  11*  31* 

*Seattle Ridge winds were back online at 11 am yesterday.

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: Oct 05, 2019 )

Glacier District
Johnson Pass: ClosedClosed
Placer River: ClosedClosed
Skookum Drainage: ClosedClosed
Turnagain Pass: ClosedClosed
Twentymile: ClosedClosed
Seward District
Carter Lake: ClosedClosed
Lost Lake Trail: ClosedClosed
Primrose Trail: ClosedClosed
Resurrection Pass Trail: ClosedClosed. Will be open for the 2019/20 season pending adequate snow cover.
Snug Harbor: ClosedClosed
South Fork Snow River Corridor: ClosedClosed
Summit Lake: ClosedClosed

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
© 2019 Chugach National Forest Avalanche Information Center. All rights reserved.