Chugach State Park

Fri, January 26th, 2024 - 7:00AM
Sat, January 27th, 2024 - 7:00AM
Mary Gianotti
Conditions Summary

Weekend Avalanche Outlook

Saturday, Jan. 27th  – Sunday, Jan. 28th

*UPDATE: 7am Monday, January 29
Avalanche danger rising with an unexpected foot of new snow.

Sunday night (Jan 28) up to a foot of new snow fell in the Anchorage Front Range. Avalanches composed of the new snow are to be expected on slopes steep enough to slide. The snow fell on a variety of weak older surfaces and should not bond very well initially. An uptick in southerly winds are expected Monday night and could create touchy wind slabs, which could keep avalanche conditions dangerous even after the snow finishes.


Bottom Line: Human-triggered avalanches are unlikely this weekend. It has been four weeks since the last significant avalanche in the Chugach State Park and three weeks since we have seen more than an inch of snow.  A low likelihood of avalanches does not mean no likelihood of avalanches. Be sure to keep your good mountain habits sharp. Always carry a beacon, shovel, and probe with you, watch your partners from islands of safety, and only expose one person at a time in steep terrain.

Wind scoured landscape in the Front Range. Photo 1.24.24

Special Announcements

Upcoming Events:

Anchorage: RESCHEDULED for Saturday, Feb 3, Avalanche Rescue Skills Workshop. This event was postponed due to extremely cold temperatures (-18F on Jan 27!). Come anytime between 10:30am to 3:30pm to practice with your avalanche rescue gear, Glen Alps parking lot.

Moose Pass: Winter Rendezvous – Trail Lake Lodge – Jan 27, stop by between 10-1pm to chat with the new forecaster Daniel Krueger, ask your questions, and learn more about avalanche information on the Kenai.

SnowBall 2024!:  Mark your calendars for Valentine’s Day, Feb 14 (7-11 pm @ 49th St Brewing). Details and tickets HERE. The evening promises costumes, finger food, a rocking band, a silent auction, and of course plenty of great company. Join us in supporting Chugach Avy as well as our friends at the Alaska Avalanche School.

Outdoor Explorer Interview: Our interview with Outdoor Explorer is live. Check out the interview here.

Recent Avalanches

Recent Avalanches:  Over the past week, we have had four observations in the Chugach State Park with no reported avalanches. There have been reports of glide cracks, old wind slabs, and cornice falls in our neighboring “no advisory” land snowpack in Bird Valley. This area is not technically in our zone, but we still wanted to mention it if anyone is traveling in that area. That also goes for the large cornice on the Bird Ridge Trail. We want to remind folks to give cornices a wide berth and travel on the windward side of the cornice, far away from the edge.

Cornice on Bird Ridge Trail. Photo taken by Jose Ramos-Leon: 1.18.24

Weather Recap: In the past week, the Front Range has received no new snow and has had mostly cold, clear, calm weather. With an inversion in place, temperatures have ranged between negative teens at the valley bottoms to balmy low thirties at higher elevations. At the base of the South Fork of Eagle River Valley, temperatures dipped as low as -18 F. Brrr!

Weather Forecast: The cold, mostly clear, calm spell is looking like it will continue throughout the weekend. Clear skies are in the forecast for today and tomorrow, except for a low-lying valley fog below 3,000 feet. There is a chance of light new snow on Saturday morning and late Sunday evening. Ridgetop winds are forecast to be light and variable all weekend. Temperatures will be between lows of -15 F and highs in the single digits. Bundle up! We are dipping into low temperatures this weekend, where frostbite or other cold injuries could be a possibility. Your extremities- hands, feet, ears, or tip of your nose are most vulnerable to cold weather injuries. Try to keep those areas covered and watch out for the first signs of frostbite (numbness, clumsiness, and cold skin).

There are many patches of sastrugi across the Front Range right now. Photo by John Sykes: 1.24.24

Snow depth continues to vary in the region, ranging from bare ground to over eight feet of snow with an average of about three feet of snow depth. Riding conditions are currently poor, with many patches of windboard and sastrugi. Expect your thighs to burn and to be able to hear every turn you make for miles on the hard snow surfaces. On the bright side, the wind crust is now supportable in many places instead of breakable. We recommend heading south or north (Hatchers or Turnagain) for better snow quality this weekend.

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

At this point, it has been four weeks since the last significant avalanche in the Chugach State Park. There were no significant loading events this week, no concerning stability test results, and a cold, quiet weather forecast for this weekend. The chance of someone triggering an avalanche this weekend is low. However, this doesn’t mean there is no avalanche danger.

Wind Slab: There is a chance of triggering an older wind slab in the upper elevation terrain along ridgelines, especially in spots that have wind slabs on top of facets. 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 at 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) to keep it in mind when the next major loading event takes place. This type of layer also has the lingering potential to cause an avalanche if you happen to find the trigger point in a thinner spot in the snowpack.

ECTP13 on a wind slab near-surface facets interface buried roughly 15 cm down from the snow surface. Photo: 1.24.24

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.