Avalanche Advisory

Turnagain Area Avalanche Advisory
Forecaster:   Kevin Wright  
Thursday, March 6th 2014
Created: Mar 6th 6:42 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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Silverton Mountain Guides
Special Announcement

Turnagain Pass is now CLOSED to motorized use due to shallow snowpack and patches of bare ground.  Johnson Pass north and Placer river remain OPEN.

Join CNFAIC forecasters John Fitzgerald and Wendy Wagner at REI tonight from 6-7:30pm for a presentation on this season's unusual weather, snow and avalanche cycles.   To reserve a seat go to REI's website on this link.

The Bottom Line

Avalanche danger continues to be LOW across our forecast zone.  The shot of snow that impacted Anchorage yesterday had very little effect to the south of Anchorage.  Mountains around Girdwood got up to 3 inches of light snow, Turnagain Pass got about an inch.  This minimal snowfall did not change the avalanche danger in our area.  

Surface conditions are still supportable crust interspersed with old raised tracks.  Skiing and riding quality is poor.  This crust could allow for easy travel into the far reaches of the Chugach on skinny skis or a fat tire bike.  

Primary Concern

A complete lack of soft snow below 4000 feet makes avalanches an unlikely possibility.  

We've had a recent pattern of melt/freeze: temperatures alternating into the 40s F during day and freezing hard at night.  This has consolidated the snowpack and made it strong and firm.  Despite the presence of several crust layers, the snowpack is quite stable.  

Exceptions could exist at very high elevations that were not affected by melting temperatures.  If you look hard enough there are always be outliers to be found.  

Cornices are the other stability exception.  Unstable overhanging curls of snow at ridge crests can be found without much searching.  They can and will break back farther than expected if a person were to step onto one of these features.


Mountain Weather

The snowfall yesterday hit Anchorage harder than Girdwood or Turnagain Pass.  There may be a slight benefit to the quality of skiing from this 1-3 inches of snow, but it is minimal.  

Mostly cloudy skies this morning will become partly cloudy by tonight.  Patchy fog in the morning.  A few flurries in the morning are not expected to produce significant snow on the ground.  Temperatures will reach into the lower 30s.  Wind will be 0-10mph.  

A chance of snow is forecasted for the weekend, but it doesn't look like a major storm that will produce much snow.  


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: Dec 08, 2017 )

Glacier District
Johnson Pass: Closed
Placer River: Closed
Skookum Drainage: Closed
Turnagain Pass: ClosedRain and snow have fallen in Turnagain Pass this week, but not enough to open for snowmachining. Continue to check back to this site for updates.
Twentymile: Closed
Seward District
Carter Lake: Closed
Lost Lake Trail: Closed
Primrose Trail: Closed
Resurrection Pass Trail: ClosedResurrection Pass trail is expected to 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.

If you have comments or questions regarding CNFAIC operations or winter recreation management, please email
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