Turnagain Pass RSS

ARCHIVED - Forecasts expire after 24 hours.
Fri, March 10th, 2023 - 7:00AM
Sat, March 11th, 2023 - 7:00AM
Andrew Schauer
Avalanche risk The Bottom Line

The avalanche danger is LOW today. Human triggered avalanches are unlikely, not impossible. Gusty outflow winds will make reactive wind slabs in isolated steep terrain, but these should stay small due to the lack of soft snow on the ground for building slabs. Be aware of the potential for finding one of these unstable pockets of snow, and stick with smart travel protocol in case you get caught by surprise.

PETE’S NORTH to JOHNSON PASS: We have received multiple observations of a problematic buried weak layer in this southern edge of our forecast zone, including a large skier-triggered avalanche earlier this week. This small section of terrain is the one place within our advisory area with concerning snowpack structure capable of producing large avalanches. Use extra caution if you are headed this way.

SUMMIT LAKE: This zone tends to see stronger winds during these outflow events than our core advisory area. The snowpack around Summit also has multiple problematic buried weak layers, which may produce large avalanches during the gusty winds today.

Special Announcements

Turnagain Pass Avalanche Awareness Day – Mar 18, 2023:  Mark your calendars and swing by on your way to or from your backcountry ride or ski!! Test your beacon skills, chow down on hot dogs, and bring your questions for CNFAC forecasters. The Alaska Avalanche School will be there along with a chance to demo snowmachines from Alaska Mining and Diving Supply and Anchorage Yamaha and Polaris. More details HERE!

Fri, March 10th, 2023
Above 2,500'
1 - Low
Avalanche risk
1 - Low
Avalanche risk
Below Treeline
Below 1,000'
1 - Low
Avalanche risk
0 - No Rating
1 - Low
2 - Moderate
3 - Considerable
4 - High
5 - Extreme
Avalanche risk Avalanche risk Avalanche risk Avalanche risk Avalanche risk
Travel Advice Generally safe avalanche conditions. Watch for unstable snow on isolated terrain features. Heightened avalanche conditions on specific terrain features. Evaluate snow and terrain carefully; identify features of concern. Dangerous avalanche conditions. Careful snowpack evaluation, cautious route-finding, and conservative decision-making essential. Very dangerous avalanche conditions. Travel in avalanche terrain not recommended. Extraordinarily dangerous avalanche conditions. Avoid all avalanche terrain.
Likelihood of Avalanches Natural and human-triggered avalanches unlikely. Natural avalanches unlikely; human-triggered avalanches possible. Natural avalanches possible; human-triggered avalanches likely. Natural avalanches likely; human-triggered avalanches very likely. Natural and human-triggered avalanches certain.
Avalanche Size and Distribution Small avalanches in isolated areas or extreme terrain. Small avalanches in specific areas; or large avalanches in isolated areas. Small avalanches in many areas; or large avalanches in specific areas; or very large avalanches in isolated areas. Large avalanches in many areas; or very large avalanches in specific areas. Very large avalanches in many areas.
Recent Avalanches

We did not observe any new avalanches yesterday. We saw widespread loose snow avalanches during the warm spell between Monday and Tuesday, and the last known slab avalanche was a skier-triggered avalanche in the Ohio Creek drainage of Bench Peak on Monday.

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

Over the past week, we saw a period of very strong outflow winds followed by an extended spell of unusually warm temperatures for this time of year. While that combination hasn’t done much to improve skiing and riding conditions, it has left us with a snowpack that is generally safe. Under most circumstances, the strong outflow winds we are expecting to see continue through today would give us more cause for concern, but at this point there isn’t enough soft snow on the ground to make for a widespread wind slab concern. It is important to remember that we are talking about region-wide patterns here, and even though the snowpack is generally stable, you can still find pockets of snow where a person could trigger an avalanche.

For today avalanches are unlikely, 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. Keep an eye out for isolated wind slabs forming today, and avoid steep terrain if you notice active wind loading.

Click here to view the video below if it doesn’t load in your browser.

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 Avalanche.org

We are still concerned with a layer of facets buried 1-2′ deep in the southern corner of our advisory zone between Pete’s North and Johnson Pass. This is the only chunk of terrain where we keep seeing unstable test results and large collapses, and it is where a skier triggered a large avalanche on Monday. The danger may be low over the majority of the forecast zone, but this small area is the exception. Be aware of potentially dangerous conditions in this southern portion of our forecast area, and dial back terrain accordingly if you are trying to get out in this zone.

Fri, March 10th, 2023

Yesterday: Skies were clear with weather stations showing temperatures getting up into the upper 30’s to low 40’s F at lower elevations and the upper 20’s to low 30’s F at higher elevations. Winds were 5-10 mph with gusts of 15-20 mph out of the northwest for most of the day.

Today: Clear skies and northerly winds continue today. Winds have been blowing 10-20 mph with gusts 20-30 mph since last night, and are looking to get up to sustained speeds of 15-30 mph with gusts of 25-50 mph this morning before slowly backing off through the day. High temperatures should reach the mid 20’s to 30 F with overnight lows dropping into the single digits to low teens F. No precipitation is expected today.

Tomorrow: Clear skies continue tomorrow, with light westerly winds expected to stay around 5 mph. Temperatures should reach the mid 20’s F during the day and drop down to the single digits to low teens F overnight.

PRECIPITATION 24-hour data (6am – 6am)

Temp Avg (F) Snow (in) Water (in) Snow Depth (in)
Center Ridge (1880′) 33 0 0 65
Summit Lake (1400′) 32 0 0 37
Alyeska Mid (1700′) 33 0 0 66
Bear Valley – Portage (132′) 34 0 0

RIDGETOP 24-hour data (6am – 6am)

Temp Avg (F) Wind Dir Wind Avg (mph) Wind Gust (mph)
Sunburst (3812′) 23 WNW 8 21
Seattle Ridge (2400′) 28 NNW 6 19
Recent Observations for Turnagain Pass
Date Region Location
11/27/23 Turnagain Avalanche: Tincan Ridge
11/26/23 Turnagain Observation: Road report: Slide with dirt on Repeat offender
11/26/23 Turnagain Observation: Pete’s North
11/25/23 Turnagain Observation: Tincan trees
11/21/23 Observation: Spokane Creek
11/20/23 Turnagain Observation: Sunburst
11/19/23 Turnagain Observation: Magnum – PMS Bowl
11/19/23 Other Regions Observation: Sunnyside/Penguin
11/19/23 Turnagain Observation: Eddies
11/19/23 Turnagain Observation: Cornbiscuit
Riding Areas

The riding areas page has moved. Please click here & update your bookmarks.

Subscribe to Turnagain Pass
Avalanche Forecast by Email

This is a general backcountry avalanche advisory issued for Turnagain Arm with Turnagain Pass as the core advisory area. This advisory does not apply to highways, railroads or operating ski areas.