November 7 UPDATE
Avalanche Danger is Expected to Rise
The first potent winter storm of 2023/24 looks to hit Wednesday, Nov 8th. HEADS UP!
Large avalanches should begin to release on their own as the storm peaks Wednesday. In the following days, it’s hard to know how quickly the new snow will stabilize, so keep your guard up in case it’s still easy to trigger an avalanche. Avy season is starting…
Anywhere from 2-4+ feet of new heavy dense snow is expected to fall between Tuesday night and Thursday morning along with strong east winds. The rain/snow line is expected around 1,000′ and rising as high as 2,500′ in places near Portage Valley by Wednesday afternoon. Snow should start to pile up and begin to avalanche at elevations above 1,500′, yet debris could funnel down avalanche paths all the way to sea level where it’s likely to be raining.
In short, Wednesday’s a good day to avoid the mountains unless you know for sure your route doesn’t go into, or underneath, any type of avalanche terrain. Once the skies clear post storm it will be important to look for Red Flags (recent avalanches, whumpfing or collapsing in the snow, or cracks that shoot out from you). As the adage goes, “if there is enough snow to ride, there is enough to slide”. We can’t let the early season thin snowpack fool us.
Precipitation graphic produced by the NWS. Note the inches are in water equivalent, which means roughly 1″ of precip = 10-12″ of snow where it’s snowing and simply rain amounts where it’s raining.
See the latest snow and precipitation graphics here: www.weather.gov/afc/avalancheweather
The snow cover currently consists of 3-6″ inches of fluff from Sunday’s light snow event sitting on either bare ground below ~2,500′ or sitting on a foot or so of older snow at the higher elevations.
Crow Pass during Sunday’s new 4-6″ of snow. Thanks to Brandon McNaughton for passing along his report! 11.05.23
Chugach NF Avalanche Center – early season operations:
- The Avalanche Center will issue intermittent weather and avalanche updates as conditions warrant through mid November.
- Daily avalanche forecasts are planned to begin around Thanksgiving week.
**PLEASE, send us your reports if you head into the mountains. It’s easy – even just a photo is greatly appreciated.
Avalanche rescue gear and communications:
- Is your rescue gear working properly?
- Beacons (avalanche transceivers) – fresh batteries
- Probes – able to assemble properly with no weak points in the cable
- Shovels – not damaged and is a true avalanche shovel
- Airbags – charged, working properly, and tested
- InReach up to date and associated with the correct emergency contacts
Nov 10, 9:00am to 4:30pm- Southcentral Alaska Avalanche Workshop
- Alaska’s Annual snow science workshop (SAAW). This event is geared for both snow professionals and public backcountry users alike. If you are a snow/avalanche geek, this is the event for you! Please see details and registration at akavalancheworkshop.org.
Tickets on sale now! HERE
Nov 14, 7:00pm- MSP Ski Film!
- MatchStick Productions – “The Land of Giants” – Trailer HERE.
Showing at the West Anchorage High School Auditorium. Doors open at 6pm.
Tickets HERE ($20 in advance and $25 at the door).
- Several Avalanche Education Scholarships are available. These are through endowments in memory of Amy Downing and Rob Hammel along with 8 additional scholarships in partnership with the Alaska Avalanche School. Scholarships open for application on October 1, deadlines are December 1. Check them out for yourself and/or please pass along to anyone that may be interested.
*REMEMBER, the best way to keep tabs on current events/information for the early season is on our Facebook page and Instagram!!*