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Avalanche Advisory

Turnagain Area Avalanche Advisory
Forecaster:   Kevin Wright  
Friday, December 16th 2011
Created: Dec 16th 6:55 am
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.
2 Moderate Below Treeline / Below 1,000' Travel Advice: Heightened avalanche conditions on specific terrain features. Evaluate snow and terrain carefully; identify features of concern.
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The Libby Group
The Bottom Line
Good morning. This is Kevin Wright with the Chugach National Forest Avalanche Information Center on Friday, December 16th at 7am. This will serve as 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).

Thanks to everyone who joined the benefit showing of Teton Gravity Research films at the Sitzmark on Wednesday. Thanks to Wild Alpine for organizing. Your support makes these forecasts possible.

BOTTOM LINE
The avalanche danger is moderate for new storm snow. The snow that fell yesterday combined with wind was causing isolated small natural avalanches on South faces. Depending on wind and precipitation, this trend could continue today. Watch for stiffer wind slabs above tree line that could break under a skier or rider.

AVALANCHE DISCUSSION
The front that moved across yesterday dropped a short but sweet amount of snow around Turnagain arm. Areas of Girdwood got more than a foot of snow, Turnagain Pass got a solid 8-10 inches. By mid afternoon yesterday the skies cleared and the wind diminished.

The primary concern today will be the most recent snowfall breaking in wind loaded areas. We could see some natural avalanche activity yesterday, breaking in shallow wind deposited pillows on South faces. The wind direction in Turnagain pass was mostly Northeast, blowing the snow onto South and West aspects. Watch for local variations in the wind direction.

This new snow fell onto a lighter density and colder surface. Initial bonding between the layers was poor, but it should get better quickly over time. Today is a perfect day to practice quick hand pits to test that interface between the most recent storm snow and the older snow from Sunday. Isolate a 1 foot by 1 foot column 1-2 feet deep with your ski pole and pull downward with your hand to gauge the strength and shear quality at the interface (no need to get your shovel out). You should be able to do a dozen of these tests as you ascend with only a couple minutes total time lost. Also consider ski cutting short, low consequence test slopes on your way down to see if they break into slabs.

The new snow came in with temperatures in the low to mid 20s at 3000 feet. Expect to find fairly light density snow except where the wind stiffened it into cohesive slabs. Sea level temperatures were above freezing, so snow density will increase as you descend.


MOUNTAIN WEATHER
Yesterdays snowfall already lost several inches due to settlement.
The weather patterns right now are fairly complex. 2-4 inches of snow is forecasted for today. Expect moderate Southeast wind up to 40mph tonight. Snow showers will be the trend heading into the weekend. Check our weather links page for a more comprehensive analysis of current weather patterns.

CNFAIC Weather Page and the NWS forecast

I will issue the next advisory Saturday morning at 7am. If you get out in the backcountry we want to know what you are seeing. Please send us your observations using the button at the top of this page or give us a call at 754-2369. Thanks and have a great day.

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 )

AREA STATUS WEATHER AND RIDING CONDITIONS
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

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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.


USFS SNOW AND AVALANCHE HOTLINE (907) 754-2369
If you have comments or questions regarding CNFAIC operations or winter recreation management, please email staff@chugachavalanche.org
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