Blackstone Glacier Avalanche Accident

It is with heavy hearts that we post this preliminary accident report for a snowmachine rider who lost their life in an avalanche on May 2nd, 2018. The avalanche occurred in the upper Blackstone Glacier. Our thoughts go out to the family, friends and riding partners at this difficult time.

If you are headed out to the backcountry this spring, please see our ‘Springtime Avalanche Tips’ on the advisory page.

Heads up – Springtime Avalanche Season is Here

Avalanche danger has increased during the last couple weeks of April due to stormy weather. Natural avalanches occurring at the high elevations are running to valley bottoms. Portage Valley has seen the majority of this activity which looks to continue into May. Keep in mind that although hiking trails may be melting out, snow covered slopes above could still be threatening them!

Check out this video report of  a natural avalanche in the Byron Glacier Valley from Saturday, April 21st.

Contribute to avalanche research!! White Heat Project is seeking your input.

White Heat Project seeks your input:
The aim of the White Heat Project is to generate new and usable knowledge on risk-taking behavior, and on factors behind decision errors in avalanche terrain in particular. The White Heat Sleds project is an extension to the previous “SkiTracks” project, and is a collaboration between a group of researchers at UiT The Arctic University of Norway, in Tromsø; Montana State University, in Bozeman, USA; and Umeå University, in Umeå, Sweden. More info here:

We are asking people to complete a decision-making survey:


*Snowmachiner Links: 

       You can also submit GPX tracks of their rides to “

More information can be found here:


*Skier/Snowboarder/Climber links:

       You can also submit GPX tracks of their backcountry trips to “

       More information can be found here:




Upcoming Events: 4th annual SNOWBALL on Feb 16th – Free Beacon Practice Feb 17th

2018 Snowball

February 16 @ 7:00 pm – 11:00 pm

| $35

Support avalanche safety in Southcentral Alaska at the 2018 Snowball, benefiting Friends of the Chugach Avalanche Center and Alaska Avalanche School. Live music by the Hope Social Club, silent auction, raffle, locally brewed beer and good people. Tickets available at


Join CNFAIC forecasters for a FREE hands-on and in-the-snow avalanche beacon practice!!!

This 1.5 hour informal beacon practice is geared for all user groups. Grab your friends and join us before hitting the hills!! Great intro or refresher! 

WHERE:   Turnagain Pass (motorized parking lot) – Look for the blue CNFAIC Avalanche trailer.

We will focus on practicing with your avalanche beacon, probe and shovel. We’ll also talk and work on strategic shoveling techniques and common mistakes.

This session is open to everyone and anyone, novices and experts, who like to recreate in avalanche terrain – snowmachiners, skiers, kicker-builders, etc!! Practicing our rescue skills is a must for all of us. This will be a fun hour and a half that could help save a life in the future. See you there!

**Don’t forget to bring your rescue gear: avalanche beacon, shovel, probe. We will have a few extras to borrow as well. Demo gear supplied by Black Diamond.

Advisory Page Updates for 2018!

Happy New Year! Monday January 8, 2018 when you open the Turnagain Area Avalanche Advisory it will look different. We are making a few changes. For a document explaining the changes click HERE, and a quick video tutorial here below.  These changes are part of a national push to have consistency between public avalanche advisories across the country and to help better define the avalanche hazard each day. Go to to look at other avalanche centers.

If you are not seeing new icons and the page doesn’t look right (icons are large, bar graphs are below them) please refresh this page and/or clean out your cache to see the changes.  Clean out your cache general link HERE.  For Google and Chrome link is HERE.


What events are happening in your neighborhood this Holiday season?

Check out our Calendar Page for upcoming events, workshops and avalanche courses. CNFAIC will be hosting several FREE evening talks on different topics along with a couple FREE avalanche rescue hands-on workshops! Also listed are professional avalanche courses by the Alaska Avalanche School and GET the GEAR and GET the TRAINING!!

Annual CNFAIC Fundraiser – Nov 16th at the Beartooth Theater Pub!!

Mark and Janelle Smiley are a husband-wife duo that have spent the last seven years climbing the “50 Classic Climbs of North America” based off a book written by Alan Steck and Steve Roper in 1979. No one has climbed all 50 and they are the closest, having summited 48. Mark is a professional photographer, filmmaker, speaker and mountain guide and Janelle is a professional athlete and Holistic Life Guide (a unique profession which combines mountain guiding and life coaching into one grand adventure).

Their presentation will feature incredible footage and stories from four of their journeys – a ski mountaineering expedition to Mount Saint Elias which took them from sea to summit to sea; climbing Denali’s Cassin Ridge; climbing Middle Triple Peak in the Kichatna Range; and climbing Moose’s Tooth. They will talk about overcoming fear, trial and error, second and third attempts, courage, stubbornness, commitment and finding bliss.

Tickets are $25 and will be available starting Oct. 24 at the Bear Tooth website and box office.

Southcentral Alaska Avalanche Workshop – Friday, Nov 3rd!!

Register now for Friday November 3rd’s 5th annual ‘SAAW’ (Southcentral Alaska Avalanche Workshop)!! We have an amazing line-up scheduled, special guest Ethan Greene from Colorado Avalanche Information Center!

REMEMBER – the afternoon session is FREE!! This session runs from 1pm-4:30pm and will focus on topics relevant to not only avalanche professionals but recreational backcountry users. 

Full schedule, Registration and more details are posted on the event website

2018 Internship Program application is up – Deadline July 23rd!

The CNFAIC is accepting applications for next season’s Internship Program! Please see the requirements and how to apply below (pdf of the application can also be found HERE).


Chugach National Forest Avalanche Center 2018 Internship Program

  • Application period closes July 23rd, 2017

Avalanche Center/ Winter Recreation- Intern
Location: Glacier Ranger District,145 Forest Station Road, Girdwood, AK Chugach National Forest Avalanche Center,

Timeframe: Minimum 10 week commitment (between December 2017 and March 2018)

Objective: This internship opportunity is open to students and aspiring snow/avalanche professionals seeking experience from a Forest Service Avalanche Center.

Requirements: Must have at least AAA certified Level 2 avalanche education (or equivalent). Be able to ski and/or snowmachine in steep mountainous terrain and enjoy working in rugged winter conditions. Have a current WFR, OEC (or equivalent) medial skills and competent rescue skills. Be able to enthusiastically shovel large amounts of Chugach Powder – and not be afraid of rain. Have a professional goal towards snow science, avalanche forecasting or associated fields. Operating snowmachines is required and previous experience off-trail mountain riding is a plus!

Benefits/Compensation: Housing in Girdwood (if desired) and a stipend of $30/day worked. Housing is available at the Glacier Ranger District bunkhouse. The intern will gain experience working with an established USFS Avalanche Center and the opportunity to learn daily operations of avalanche forecasting. Additionally, he/she may be involved in public outreach and education events as well as learning winter recreation management operations. A college student may be able to receive credit for this internship.

Expectations: Intern must participate as a field partner, join in weekly stability meetings and share in other CNFAIC/Winter Recreation duties. Completion of an internship project is required. This is a self-tailored task culminating with a written paper or article by the end of the internship (i.e., snow/weather research, education/outreach, CNFAIC projects).

To apply: Send a cover letter and resume to Wendy Wagner ( Cover letter should include pertinent background information, reason of interest, what skills/knowledge you hope to gain and how this program can help you attain your future goals.
Wendy Wagner (Director, CNFAIC)
P.O. Box 129
Girdwood, AK 99587

Sunshine and Springtime – AND – Dangerous Avalanche Conditions

Spring has rolled into the mountains with warm weather, sunshine and some stormy days in between. Although winter has come to a close and the CNFAIC has stopped issuing advisories, avalanche season is still well underway. As the snowpack heats up, melts down and loses its strength, small to large wet avalanches are expected to continue region wide – through May. Be aware, these can release naturally or be easily triggered on steep slopes that are wet and saturated. Furthermore, stormy weather will bring storm snow avalanches.


Please see our Springtime Avalanche Tips on the Advisory Page for ways to stay safe in avalanche terrain!!


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