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Avalanche Advisory

Turnagain Area Avalanche Advisory
Forecaster:   Kevin Wright  
Saturday, December 31st 2011
Created: Dec 31st 6:40 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 John Byrne Family
The Bottom Line
Good morning. This is Kevin Wright with the Chugach National Forest Avalanche Information Center on Saturday, December 31st 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).

ANNOUNCEMENT
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We rely heavily on the support of a great community of backcountry enthusiasts. Please consider being a part of this community and help ensure that we can all play safely in the mountains this winter.

BOTTOM LINE
The avalanche danger is LOW with pockets of MODERATE for wind slabs, and cornices. In general, good safe powder skiing is the norm right now. Local variations are possible that include a weaker snowpack South of Turnagain Pass and aging windslabs at higher elevations. Cornices are always something to think about when people start riding the bigger and steeper terrain.

AVALANCHE DISCUSSION
If the skies clear today you will see tracks over all kinds of steep and high commitment terrain through Turnagain Pass and Girdwood. The loose powder over a strong base is only showing minor sluffing with an occasional stiff and stubborn pocket. Our confidence in the safety of the snowpack is building as we continue to get cold temperatures, light wind, and little snow each day.

The pockets of Moderate that Im worried about are related to a couple issues. Steep and high consequence terrain is where you might find some stiff variability where the wind has blown a slab below the ridge. Those slabby areas are showing properties for the potential to avalanche in small isolated pockets. One way to minimize this hazard is to follow solid protocol in high consequence terrain. Ride one at a time from safe spot to safe spot. Dont ski above your partner, and communicate your plan before dropping out of sight below.

Loose snow sluffing in steep terrain is possible today. While technically an avalanche, a point release sluff is generally low volume, slower moving, and manageable with a bit of foresight. Check out this paper on sluff management.

South of Turnagain Pass the snowpack is showing its typical shallow and weak character. There is a notable difference in the snowpack strength between Turnagain and Summit. If you are stuck in the mindset of strong and stable, try to think differently when traveling in the weaker zones toward Summit. Read the Summit discussion for more details.

MOUNTAIN WEATHER
Weve had cold temperatures with no major precipitation over the last several days. You might find a couple of inches of recent snow, but the density of that snow is minimal due to the cold temps. Mostly cloudy with scattered snow showers are possible today. Temperatures will remain in the single digits at higher elevations with a light Southeast wind.

CNFAIC Weather Page and the NWS forecast

Wendy will issue the next advisory Sunday morning. 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: Apr 28, 2017 )

AREA STATUS WEATHER AND RIDING CONDITIONS
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.


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