Avalanche Advisory

Turnagain Area Avalanche Advisory
Friday, November 23rd 2018 7:00 am by CNFAIC Staff
ARCHIVED ADVISORY - All advisories expire after 24 hours from the posting date/time.
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The Bottom Line

The CNFAIC will be issuing intermittent snow and avalanche updates until there is enough snow to warrant daily avalanche advisories. We are closely monitoring a series of storms this weekend and you may see your first forecast any day now. Keep an eye on this page and be sure to 'like' us on facebook where we also share additional updates. 

Friday November 23rd Update: 

CHANGING WEATHER: A low pressure system is moving into our region bringing warm, wet and windy weather. A high wind warning was issued for Saturday for Turnagain Arm and higher elevations. Easterly winds will increase into the 50's with gusts in the 80's mph. Expect snow flurries to transition to heavy rain tomorrow (Saturday) as temps increase and the storm intensifies mid-day. At this point a lot of uncertainty exists around how high the rain/snow line will go. Right now it looks like an 1" of rain will fall below 1500', and 12-15" of wet snow in the upper elevations. Sunday and Monday look similar, possibly warmer, with another round of heavy rain and strong winds.

If the precip does fall as snow it's important to have a good mental picture of what the surface conditions look like. Snow line is betwen 1500' to 2000' with exposed vegetation in the lower elevations. Rain last weekend followed by cool temps this week formed a crust to ridgetops where snow exists. On top of this crust is surface hoar formed from clear and humid conditions this week. Basically we might have a perfect recipe for avalanche activity in the upper elevations. Although we're not issuing a danger rating quite yet, keep your eyes on Sunburst and Center Ridge weather stations. If temps stay below freezing and we get snow instead of rain we may see a forecast as early as Sunday or Monday. 

Should you decide to venture into the mountains this weekend, be aware of changing weather and red flag warnings. Avoid avalanche terrain if you see any of these obvious signs of instability:

  • Recent avalanches (24-48 hrs)
  • Cracks in the snow that shoot out from you
  • Whumpfing (collapsing) of the snowpack
  • Rapid changes in weather (snow/rain/wind/temperature)


Surface hoar and a thin layer of snow is covering the vegetation of lower Sunburst. Firm snow begins around alder-line (2000'). 


The perfect conditions for surface hoar growth are temps in the teens to 20F's, high humidity, and light winds. Sunburst weather station is at 3800'.



Snowline is a little lower on Tincan, just above1500'


East facing slopes of Reapeat Offender on Seattle Ridge on Friday, November 23. Snowline is around 2000'.


Looking into Lynx Creek drainage, Northern aspects.

 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'
Avalanche Problem 1


Is your avalanche rescue equipment ready for the season?  

  • Beacon: do you have fresh batteries, no corrosion, and the latest update? Is your beacon outdated?
  • Airbag: Is it charged and software updated? Or does the canisiter need to be refilled?
  • Probe: Have you assembled it? 

Are your avalanche skills feeling rusty? Have you practiced your rescue skills with your partners yet? Its important both you and your partners have formal avalanche training and practice regularly to stay safe in the backcountry. If its been more than 5 years since you took an avalanche class consider taking a refresher or a one day rescue class. Click HERE to find a class.   

Check out this FREE interactive e-learning avalanche awareness course HERE. #knowbeforeyougo 


Do you prefer a throttle?

There are lots of great opporunities this winter for sledders in Alaska. Alaska Avalanche School is offering Level 1 classes specific for motorized users and will also do custom courses if you want to get a group of your friends together. Click HERE to find a course and sign up.  

Throttle Decisions: Show Component from Avalanche Canada on Vimeo.


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, 2019 )

Glacier District
Johnson Pass: ClosedClosed as of 4.3.19
Placer River: ClosedClosed as of 3.20.19 due to lack of snow.
Skookum Drainage: ClosedPlacer access closed as of 3.20.19 due to lack of snow.
Turnagain Pass: ClosedClosed as of 5/6. Thanks for a great season all, see you next winter!
Twentymile: ClosedClosed as of 3.20.19 due to lack of snow.
Seward District
Carter Lake: Closed
Lost Lake Trail: ClosedClosed as of 3.22.19 due to lack of snow
Primrose Trail: ClosedClosed as of 4.3.19 due to lack of snow
Resurrection Pass Trail: ClosedClosed for the 2018/19 season. Next season will be open to motorized use.
Snug Harbor: ClosedClose as of 5.1.2019
South Fork Snow River Corridor: ClosedClosed as of 3.20.19 due to lack of snow.
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
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