Chugach State Park

Fri, January 19th, 2024 - 7:00AM
Sat, January 20th, 2024 - 7:00AM
Mary Gianotti
Conditions Summary

Weekend Avalanche Outlook

Saturday, Jan. 20th  – Sunday, Jan. 21st

Bottom Line: It has been three weeks since the last significant avalanches in the Chugach State Park.  Human-triggered avalanches are unlikely but not impossible. Be sure to maintain safe travel protocols by only exposing one person at a time to steep terrain, watching your partners from safe spots out of runout zones, and always carrying a beacon, shovel, and probe.

Special Announcements

Avalanche Rescue Skills Workshop this Saturday (January 27)! 10:30am to 3:30pm at Glen Alps parking lot.

Outdoor Explorer – Thursday, Jan 25th. If you are interested in learning more about the Chugach Avalanche Center expansion and our forecast products, tune in to “Outdoor Explorer” on KSKA 91.1 on January 25 at 10AM and 8PM. It will be streamable after it airs on the Alaska Public Media Outdoor Explorer website or as an Outdoor Explorer podcast.

Recent Avalanches

Bare tundra and wind deposition in Harp Mountain Bowl in South Fork of Eagle River. Photo: 1.18.24

Recent Avalanches:  Over the past week, we have had three observations in the Chugach State Park with no reported avalanches other than a very small wind slab avalanche on the bowl directly NW of 2 Bowls in the South Fork of Eagle River. The avalanche appeared to be caused naturally by a cornice fall from the ridge at ~4,350 feet, likely occurring during the strong north winds this week. Thank you to everyone who has submitted observations! We always appreciate any information the public has to share.

Small natural wind slab avalanche on a west aspect at ~4,300′ triggered from a cornice fall (photo taken from the parking lot- it was the bowl directly NW of Two Bowls in South Fork of Eagle River). Photo: 1.18.24

Weather Recap: In the past week, the Front Range has received no new snow. There were two wind events starting with strong ridgetop winds from the south last weekend and then switching to the north during an outflow event that hit the range Wednesday with 10-40 mph winds with gusts into the 60s. The winds scoured the landscape in many areas, and bare ground is visible. The snowpack is deeper in areas that tend to fill up with snow, like gullies and alpine bowls. The outflow wind event on Wednesday has created a 1” breakable wind crust on most snow surfaces. Temperatures at Glen Alps, and Arctic Valley ranged from teens to mid-30s F, averaging around 20-25 F. At the bottom of the South Fork of Eagle River Valley, temperatures dipped as low as 4 F.

Snow surface conditions in South Fork of Eagle River. Photo: 1.18.24

Weather Forecast: Clear skies are in the forecast for today and tomorrow, with clouds building on Sunday. There is a chance of 0-0.5” of new snow starting Sunday afternoon. Ridgetop winds are forecast to be light and variable all weekend. Starting Saturday night winds may increase in town in Anchorage, however, we are not seeing this forecast up in the mountains. Temperatures will be between 25-30 F today, dipping down to mid-teens Saturday afternoon. Saturday night and all day Sunday temperatures are forecast to be in the single digits.


Avalanche Problem 1
  • Normal Caution
    Normal Caution
Normal Caution
Normal Caution means triggering an avalanche is unlikely but not impossible.
More info at

After three weeks without notable avalanches observed, no concerning stability test results, and quiet weather on tap for the weekend, the avalanche conditions are in a holding pattern of sorts until the next weather system. Triggering an avalanche is unlikely. However, this doesn’t mean there is no avalanche danger.

Wind Slab: Because of the recent wind events earlier this week- there is a chance of triggering an older wind slab in the upper elevation terrain along ridgelines. To identify areas with wind slabs feel for firmer, hollow-sounding snow on the surface.

Persistent Slab: There is a persistent weak layer we are monitoring a the base of the snowpack at elevations over 2,500’. We are still highlighting this layer of depth hoar and basal facets (weak, sugary snow) because of the lingering potential to cause a dangerous avalanche if you happen to find the trigger point. Watch for unstable snow in steep, isolated terrain features at higher elevations. 

Depth hoar found at the base of the snowpack in the South Fork of Eagle River. Photo: Aube Strickland, 1.18.24

Photo of the snowpack in Eagle River at 4,150’. Photo: 1.18.24

Fri, January 19th, 2024

Weather Forecasts:

Weather Stations

Recent Observations for Chugach State Park
Date Region Location
05/29/24 Chugach State Park Avalanche: Harp mtn west aspect
05/07/24 Chugach State Park Observation: Mt. Eklutna
04/27/24 Chugach State Park Avalanche: Chugach Front Range Powerline Valley
04/16/24 Chugach State Park Observation: South Fork of Eagle River
04/13/24 Chugach State Park Avalanche: South Fork Hiland Road
04/10/24 Chugach State Park Observation: Chugach Front Range Flattop
04/09/24 Chugach State Park Observation: South Fork of Eagle River
04/08/24 Chugach State Park Avalanche: Arctic Valley/ Gordon Lyon
04/06/24 Chugach State Park Observation: Eagle River South Fork
04/06/24 Chugach State Park Avalanche: False Peak

This is a general backcountry conditions summary. This advisory does not apply to highways, railroads or operating ski areas.