|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.
The most recent human-triggered avalanche in our forecast zone was in the Goldpan area behind Magnum Ridge on Saturday, Nov. 18. This likely failed on a layer of surface hoar that was buried on Nov. 13, and was roughly a foot deep and 50 feet wide. We also continue to receive reports of glide activity from Girdwood to Summit.
|Size (D scale)
|Unlikely to bury a person
|Can bury a person
|Can destroy a house
|4 & 5
|Can destroy part or all of a village
The weather pattern is slowly starting to change, with temperatures climbing since last night and precipitation expected to start to trickle in this afternoon. However, this change is coming on slow, and it is looking like we won’t start to see major impacts until tonight and tomorrow. For now, that means our main concern is the lingering possibility of triggering a large avalanche on one of two buried weak layers. This includes a layer of surface hoar that was buried on Nov. 13 and is roughly a foot deep, and a layer of faceted snow on the ground, now 3-4′ deep. Both layers are more problematic at higher elevations, and both are becoming more stubborn to trigger as we get further out from our last precipitation event- which was now 6 days ago.
The two layers have similar, but slightly different distribution. We are fairly certain that the layer of facets on the ground exists on most slopes above around 3500′ elevation, and is weakest in steep, rocky terrain. The Nov. 13 surface hoar layer is a bit trickier. Despite being widespread before it got buried, it seems to only be reactive on isolated slopes for now. It was likely the culprit for an avalanche in Goldpan just three days ago, but we have not been able to find it in any of the snowpits we have dug since it got buried. This complicates things if you are considering getting into steep terrain at and above treeline, and it requires diligent snowpack assessment before getting into the steeps. As always, if you want to avoid the problem you can simply stick to gentler slopes.
We continue to see glide avalanche activity from Girdwood to Summit Lake. Glide avalanches are very large and difficult to predict, so be sure to limit the amount of time you spend traveling under glide cracks.
Yesterday: Temperatures remained cold during the day yesterday, hovering in the single digits above and below 0 F. Skies were mostly clear, with scattered clouds building through the day and valley fog hanging around in lower elevations. Winds were light out of the north in Girdwood and Turnagain Pass, with stronger winds of 10-25 mph and gusting close to 40 mph in the Summit and Chugach State park areas. No measurable precipitation was recorded.
Today: A shift is underway as temperatures have risen to the high teens to mid 20’s F this morning, and will continue to climb into the mid 20’s to 30 F by this evening. Skies will be mostly cloudy, and chances for precipitation begin to pick up this afternoon, with only a trace expected during the day. This should start out with snow to sea level, but the rain line will start to climb as precipitation picks up tonight into tomorrow. Winds should stay light out of the east at 5-10 mph with gusts of 10-15 mph during the day and through tonight. Overnight temperatures should drop slightly to the low to mid 20’s F.
Tomorrow: Weather will pick up tomorrow, with 8-10” snow at upper elevations in Portage and Placer, 3-4” in Girdwood,Turnagain Pass, and Seward, 1-2” in Summit, and only a trace in Chugach State Park. The rain line will continue to creep up as the storm progresses, making it up to around 2000’ during the day and reaching as high as 3000-4000’ as precipitation continues Wednesday night into Thanksgiving day. Strong winds will ramp up through the day, with sustained easterly winds at 30 mph and gusts to 40 mph by tomorrow afternoon. High temperatures should be in the upper 20’s to low 30’s F, with overnight temperatures hovering around 30 F.
PRECIPITATION 24-hour data (6am – 6am)
|Temp Avg (F)
|Snow Depth (in)
|Center Ridge (1880′)
|Summit Lake (1400′)
|Alyeska Mid (1700′)
|Bear Valley – Portage (132′)
RIDGETOP 24-hour data (6am – 6am)
|Temp Avg (F)
|Wind Avg (mph)
|Wind Gust (mph)
|Seattle Ridge (2400′)
|Observation: TinCan Backdoor/ Center Ridge
|AAS L1 Turnagain
|Avalanche: Lynx Creek
|Observation: Turnagain, Seattle, Mt Ascension
|Silverton Mountain Guides
|Observation: Tincan Trees
|Dalpes/Thamm/ Schauer Forecaster
|Observation: Seward Highway across from Johnson Pass TH
|Avalanche: Base of Seattle Ridge
|Troy Tempel, Thomas Lees, .Josh Bollaert, Damian Naquin
|Observation: Lynx creek
|Observation: Tincan Trees
|Moderow / Clayton