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Avalanche Advisory

Turnagain Area Avalanche Advisory
Forecaster:   Graham Predeger  
Tuesday, January 17th 2012
Created: Jan 17th 6:50 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 Bottom Line
Good morning. This is Graham Predeger with the Chugach National Forest Avalanche Information Center on Tuesday, January 17th 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).

Special Announcement
This Sunday January 22nd, CNFAIC forecasters will be hosting a FREE observer training day for snowmachiner's! Please contact Graham at graham@chugachavalanche.org for more details or to sign-up. Space is limited!

BOTTOM LINE
The avalanche danger today is LOW with pockets of MODERATE danger for loose snow sluffing and shallow wind slabs. Any unstable snow found today will likely be isolated to the upper 10-15" of our snowpack and should prove quite manageable.

AVALANCHE DISCUSSION
Our primary concern today will be loose snow sluffing generated by skiers or snowmachiners in steep terrain. Though usually manageable, entrained loose snow can ruin your day if you are knocked off your feet in exposed or complex terrain. Many people have been skiing this type of terrain over the last several days and will continue to do so. Expect and anticipate this loose snow and manage it accordingly when skiing or snowmachining on pitches greater than ~40 degrees.

A secondary concern today comes in the form of shallow wind slabs. The surface conditions now seem to be either blower powder or boiler plate wind slab. The blower powder that comes with sub-zero temperatures does not take much wind to transport and form a wind slab. Keep this in mind as surface conditions below your skis or sled change as you travel through the backcountry today.

Additionally, we had several reports of surface hoar formation in the Turnagain pass and Summit lake zones yesterday. It was quite prevalent and large (3-4mm) in the valley bottoms; losing size the closer you traveled toward ridge tops. This is likely due to the higher relative humidity (available atmospheric moisture) found in valley bottoms where fog persisted until yesterday afternoon in the Turnagain pass region. We will likely see continued surface hoar growth within our forecast area as long as this high pressure grips south-central AK. It'll be a good idea to keep an eye on surface hoar distribution and it's condition over the next several days before our next pulse of moisture.

Snowpack, weather and avalanche observations have really picked up over the last 7-10 days. Thanks to all who have taken the time to submit observations! The information we get from all of you is vital to producing an accurate daily advisory!


MOUNTAIN WEATHER
The Alaska region continues to be dominated by an impressive high pressure ridge today that will correspond to cold temperatures and clear skies throughout the forecast area. Expect winds to be light today at ridge tops (<12 mph) from the east.

Turnagain pass and Summit lake regions may again be shrouded in a fog bank this morning, however the persistent backcountry traveler will be rewarded with clear skies and (relatively) warmer temperatures once out of the valley bottoms. For example, the Portage valley weather station (10 feet) is reading -24 degrees at 5am this morning while the Sunburst weather station (3800 feet) is reading a balmy 6 degrees!


CNFAIC Weather Page and the NWS forecast


Kevin will issue the next advisory Wednesday 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 11, 2017 )

AREA STATUS WEATHER AND RIDING CONDITIONS
Glacier District
Johnson Pass: OpenPlease park on road in and leave the turnaround (near outhouse) open for trailers to turn around.
Placer River: OpenWide swaths of open river in the Placer Valley. Travel with extreme caution!
Skookum Drainage: ClosedSKOOKUM DRAINAGE CLOSED TO MOTORIZED USE ON APRIL 1 annually as per the Chugach National Forest Plan document.
Turnagain Pass: Open
Twentymile: ClosedClosed for the remainder of the 2017 season.
Seward District
Carter Lake: Open
Lost Lake Trail: OpenPlease STAY ON existing and hardened trail surface through the lower sections of this route.
Primrose Trail: OpenPlease STAY ON existing and hardened trail surface through the lower sections of this route.
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: Open
South Fork Snow River Corridor: Open
Summit Lake: Open

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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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