Avalanche Advisory

Turnagain Area Avalanche Advisory
Forecaster:   John Fitzgerald  
Friday, December 6th 2013
Created: Dec 6th 6:16 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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Alyeska Resort
Special Announcement

Please join us for the next installment of our FREE Fireside Chat series, “Human Factors in the Backcountry”  Tuesday December 10th at the Glacier Ranger Station in Girdwood.  More details can be found by clicking on the 'Calendar' tab above.

The Bottom Line

The general avalanche hazard is LOW today.  Avalanches are unlikely at all elevations.  The snowpack consists of mostly weak snow.  Small amounts of freezing rain and mild temperatures have had minimal impact on overall stability.

Primary Concern

The main concerns today are more associated with mountain travel than with avalanches.  A weak, shallow and thin snowpack warrants caution as rocks and stumps can be found everywhere.  In the higher elevations snow densities are inconsistent resulting in pockets of stiff snow in an otherwise soft and loose snowpack.  A slick crust will form as temps begin to cool slightly in the next day.  This will make travel challenging in many areas.  If you head into the mountains today pay attention to these real hazards.

After roughly a week of clear weather the snowpack has shown signs of weakening (faceting).  Beginning on 12/4 warm moist air started saturating the top layer of the snowpack.  While this has weakened the snow surface, it has not been wet or warm enough to de stabilize the snowpack.  We will be paying close attention to this new snow surface as it forms.  It will be important to note if there is still weak snow below it (likely) as well as what falls on top of it with the next storm system.

Mountain Weather

Warm air aloft has been trying to run over an established ridge of high pressure that is sitting to our east and north.  This has resulted in freezing rain up to ridge top levels.  Mountain temperatures have been hovering around freezing for the past 24 hours with latest readings of 29 F at Sunburst and 32 F on Seattle ridge.  Winds at the Seattle ridge station have averaged in the teens and have been lesser at Sunburst.

Today expect cloudy skies and occasional light precipitation, primarily in the form of rain and freezing rain.  Temperatures will remain mild and winds will be light out of the South.

High pressure will re establish itself over South Central AK as we head into the weekend.  Expect drier conditions, clearing skies and mild temps through 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 28, 2017 )

Glacier District
Johnson Pass: Closed
Placer River: Closed
Skookum Drainage: ClosedSKOOKUM DRAINAGE CLOSED TO MOTORIZED USE ON APRIL 1 annually as per the Chugach National Forest Plan document.
Turnagain Pass: OpenOpen thru May 14th.
Twentymile: Closed
Seward District
Carter Lake: OpenClosed May 1.
Lost Lake Trail: OpenClosed May 1.
Primrose Trail: OpenClosed May 1.
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: OpenClosed May 1.
South Fork Snow River Corridor: OpenClosed May 1.
Summit Lake: OpenClosed May 1.

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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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