Professional Observer:   Wagner

Location:   Turnagain   -   Sunburst and Portage Valley area

Date:   Feb 26th, 2013

Quite windy and mostly cloudy/obscured. 8" of new snow from overnight in
Turnagain parking lots and 10-12" at 3,000'. A brief break in cloud cover
mid-day allowed for a bit of visibility. Socked in again and began to snow
lightly by 3pm. Wind was moderate to strong and mainly from the east.

Signs of instability:
Recent avalanches - A few images of natural avalanches and one artillery
triggered from 2/26 below. Naturals likely occurred late in the evening on 2/25
or early in the morning on 2/26. All seem to be relegated to the storm snow from
the night of 2/25.

Turnagain natural avalanches seen:
Sunburst - SW, 3,500', ~2ft deep and 100' wide
Tincan, Hippie bowl - SW, 3,300', 1-2ft deep and 150+' wide

Portage/Girdwood areas:
Kern #3 (artillery triggered near Kern Creek along Seward hwy)- S, ~2,500', 1-3'
deep and ~200' wide
Williwaw (natural above Williwaw campground) - N, ~2,000', 1-3?' deep
Bird Ridge - Widespread wet loose induced by sun in the afternoon. These were
relatively small point releases confined to the top 6" or so of snow.

Surface conditions:
Wind affected snow and punchy turning conditions. It seemed the Seattle Ridge
side of the Pass may have been spared a little of the damage. Below 1,500' snow
was damp and upside down.

Fresh wind slabs. Did not trigger any but did not tease the cat too much either.

Photo 1. Natural wind slab (possibly cornice triggered) on south facing Sunburst. ~3,500', SW facing, ~2' deep and 100' wide (looker's left side of crown not visible).
Photo 2. Artillery triggered wind slab in the Kern #3 slide path (between Gridwood and Portage). South facing, ~2,500'.
Photo 3. Natural wind/storm slab Williwaw (Portage Valley). North facing, ~2,000'. (photo Dan Keeler).
Photo 4. Wet loose avalanches along Bird and Gird flats. Photo is a south facing bowl behind Bird Creek.
Photo 5. Snow devils wreaking havok on our good pow riding and skiing......! (photo Sean Fallon).


Professional observers are employees of organizations specializing in avalanche forecasting, mitigation and/or education. Some examples include: CNFAIC staff, AKDOT and AKRR avalanche program employees, AAS/AAI/AIARE level 2 and above avalanche instructors.

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