Chugach State Park

Fri, April 12th, 2024 - 7:00AM
Sat, April 13th, 2024 - 7:00AM
Mary Gianotti
Conditions Summary

Weekend Avalanche Outlook

Saturday, April 13th– Sunday, April 14th

Bottom Line: A lingering wind slab from the wind events on Thursday and today (Friday, April 12th) is going to be the most likely way to trigger an avalanche this weekend. The Front Range received 7″ to 16″ of new snow early last week, which did not come in with much wind, until this past Thursday.  This weekend is forecast to have clear skies with light winds. However, wind slabs could be tender and touchy from the Thursday and Friday wind events especially if you are planning to get out on Saturday when they have not had much time to heal yet. Sticking to wind-sheltered terrain is a good way to avoid wind slabs.

Special Announcements

Avalanche Forecast Survey: Simon Fraser University is collaborating with US avalanche centers to better understand how useful avalanche forecast information is for trip planning. This research will help drive the development of future avalanche forecast products. Click here if you are interested in participating in a 20-minute survey.

Avalanche Center End of Season Operations: Next Friday, April 19 will be the last “Weekend Avalanche Outlook” for the season. After that we will post some “spring tips” which will be our last post before the first product next season.

Recent Avalanches

Recent Avalanches: Over the past week, we have had six observations with one observation documenting a small skier-triggered avalanche on the new storm snow and old snow interface on False Peak. The avalanche crown was 5 inches deep and propagated 30 feet across, running 400 vertical feet down on a southwest aspect on a 35-degree slope angle. We rely heavily on public observations, we always appreciate any information you all have to share. Thank you!

Small storm snow avalanche on False Peak. Photo: Carolyn Highland 04.06.24

Weather Recap: The Front Range received 7″-16″ of new snow this week. The majority of that snow came in last weekend without a lot of wind. A wind event came in on Thursday with sustained 20-30 mph winds for over 12 hours with gusts up to 50 mph from the SE. Temperatures this week ranged from 10F to 45F with an average of around 25F.

The 7″ to 16″ of new snow with limited wind this week increased traffic significantly in the Front Range. Snow depth is still variable underneath the new snow, with bare ground to up to 11′ of snow in wind-deposited gullies. It may not feel like it at this moment but it is mid-April and we have been seeing slowly trending warmer temperatures. This is the time of year to note how much the snow surface is warming in the afternoons.

Weather Forecast: There is a wind event today (Friday, April 12th) with sustained 10 to 25 mph winds with gusts up to 50 mph from the SSE. This wind event is forecast to end this evening.  Several inches of new snow is forecast to come in with that wind event. Saturday is looking like partly cloudy skies with light winds from the NW with snow flurries. Sunday looks like mostly clear skies and light winds from the NW. Temperatures this weekend are forecast to range from low teens to mid-twenties Fahrenheit.

O’Malley and False Peak. Photo: Joe Kurtak 4.10.24

Avalanche Problem 1
  • Wind Slabs
    Wind Slabs
Wind Slabs
Wind Slab avalanches are the release of a cohesive layer of snow (a slab) formed by the wind. Wind typically transports snow from the upwind sides of terrain features and deposits snow on the downwind side. Wind slabs are often smooth and rounded and sometimes sound hollow, and can range from soft to hard. Wind slabs that form over a persistent weak layer (surface hoar, depth hoar, or near-surface facets) may be termed Persistent Slabs or may develop into Persistent Slabs.
More info at

Wind Slabs: As mentioned in the weather recap, we have 7″-16″ of new snow available for wind transport and we have a wind event hitting the Front Range today (Friday, April 12th) with sustained 10 to 25 mph winds with gusts up to 50 mph from the SSE. We also had another wind event on Thursday with sustained 20-30 mph winds for over 12 hours with gusts up to 50 mph from the SE. While there are no major winds in the weather forecast for this weekend, the recent events from Thursday and Friday could make surface conditions touchy, especially if you are planning to get out in the Front Range on Saturday. The wind slabs will most likely be at ridgetops and higher elevations. We recommend sticking to wind-sheltered terrain. Be on the lookout for shooting cracks and carefully evaluate rollover features and cross-loaded gullies.

Wet Loose: If you are traveling on steep southerly aspects, be on the lookout for the warming and melting of the snow surface and wet loose avalanches.


Additional Concern
  • Persistent Slabs
    Persistent Slabs
Persistent Slabs
Persistent Slab avalanches are the release of a cohesive layer of snow (a slab) in the middle to upper snowpack, when the bond to an underlying persistent weak layer breaks. Persistent layers include: surface hoar, depth hoar, near-surface facets, or faceted snow. Persistent weak layers can continue to produce avalanches for days, weeks or even months, making them especially dangerous and tricky. As additional snow and wind events build a thicker slab on top of the persistent weak layer, this avalanche problem may develop into a Deep Persistent Slab.
More info at

Persistent Slabs:  The Front Range still has poor snowpack structure. We got a concerning test result on the facet layer at the base of the snowpack on our field day in South Fork of Eagle River on Monday. While we have not seen any avalanches on this layer in months and think that the likelihood of someone triggering an avalanche here would be a surprise, however,  we are still tracking and monitoring it.

Snowpack in South Fork of Eagle River. Photo: 4.08.24

Fri, April 12th, 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.