Despite plenty of precipitation for November, winter at Turnagain Pass has yet to arrive. Storm systems have been scooping up warm sub-tropical air and bringing it north to our region. Rain has been falling up to the ridgetops at Turnagain with occasional cooler periods bringing snow to mid-mountain before warming back up again. Looking forward however, cooler temperatures are on tap for this weekend. Which is great news, but at best only a few inches of snow is likely to squeak out of the clouds as there is not much moisture associated with the colder air. Mid-week, weather models are hinting at a larger storm that looks to again send warm air and rain our way. We are crossing our fingers the models are wrong with this one and snow will make it lower onto the slopes (#snowtosealevel)!
Patches of snow trying to hang in there on Tincan.
So, what can we do in anticipation of winter’s return? We can make sure all our avalanche rescue gear is in good working order. We can take a look at these great online ‘Know Before You Go’ modules. They are found on the link along with other great awareness tools and videos. We can sign up for an avalanche class at the Alaska Avalanche School or the Alaska Guide Collective, and we can of course do our snow dances in earnest.
We can also take a bit closer look at the Get’s of the Know Before You Go campaign. The last update discussed the 4th GET (Get the Picture). The 5th ‘GET’ is GET out of HARM’S WAY. Getting out of harm’s way means knowing what is, and isn’t, avalanche terrain and negotiating it accordingly. There is actually a lot involved with this concept for those of us wishing to play in avalanche terrain. Here are a few tips from our governing body avalanche.org:
- Recognizing avalanche terrain
- Travel safely in avalanche terrain
Avalanche Center Operations: As a reminder, daily avalanche forecasts are planned to begin during Thanksgiving week. We will continue to issue intermittent updates in the meantime, or until that big cold snow storm hits…
Getting into the mountains? Please send us your snow/avalanche reports so we can post them on our observation page! Simply click ‘submit observation’ under the Observation tab. This is a huge benefit for the community and our forecasters.
*Keep tabs on early season conditions and events on Facebook and follow us on Instagram.*
If you are heading to Hatcher Pass don’t forget to check the NEW hpavalanche.org and their Facebook page.
*A huge Thank You to the sold out crowd and amazing story tellers last night at the Beartooth Theater and Pub!! This long-time annual fall fundraiser plays a critical part in supporting the avalanche center and keeping our community strong.
Thursday, Nov 21st: Snowmachine Specific Avalanche Awareness @ AMDS
5:30pm – 7:00pm. Cost: FREE!
Join Wendy Wagner and Graham Predeger for a discussion on ‘recognizing unstable snow on the go’, a review of last year’s Seattle Ridge avalanche cycles at Turnagain Pass, some common avalanche myths and more!
Tuesday, Dec 3rd: Turnagain Pass – Snow, Weather and Avalanches @ Ski AK
6:30pm – 8:00pm. Cost FREE!
Join CNFAIC forecasters for a look under the hood at the avalanche center. We’ll discuss current Turnagain Pass snow and avalanche conditions, how avalanche forecasts are produced and some tips on being your own avalanche forecaster.