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Sat, November 12th, 2011 - 7:00AM
Sun, November 13th, 2011 - 7:00AM
Kevin Wright
Avalanche risk The Bottom Line

Good morning, this is Kevin Wright with the Chugach National Forest Avalanche Information Center on Saturday, November 12th. This will serve as 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).


Two specific concerns are keeping us from dropping the danger rating to LOW.

The primary concern is the glide avalanche problem. We got a report worth looking at yesterday from a group in the Summit region who had a near miss with one of these full depth avalanches. One of the skiers described it as, “Too

close for comfort. Luckily I was in a pretty safe spot and got to witness the

roar of the debris crashing through the alders! It sounded like a freight train.”

This is a poignant reminder that these avalanches have significant destructive potential, even if the odds of getting hit are low. The best tactic around the glide cracks is simple avoidance. Give the cracks a wide berth and spend as little time as possible below them. More information about glide avalanches can be found HERE.

A secondary concern today is the new storm snow overnight. Small amounts of snow fell overnight with strong wind from the Southeast. There is potential for small wind slabs near the ridges. More snow this morning will contribute to this possibility.

Beyond these 2 concerns our snowpack is shaping up nicely. We have found only a few minor anomalies within the snowpack around Turnagain. A crust layer near the ground gave a relatively clean shear yesterday, but took a lot of force to move. We have not been able to get test columns to propagate in our pits.


A small amount of snow fell last night and this morning. Our instruments are measuring 2-5 inches, with a little more possible at higher elevations. Wind associated with the storm was Southeast to East with ridgetop gusts up to 50mph. This morning anCNFAIC Staff several inches are predicted, with wind shifting Southwest.


We are in the season of Fireside Chats, free avalanche awareness talks from your local avalanche center. Show up on Wednesday nights at 7pm at the Forest Service Ranger Station in Girdwood. More details are on our training and calendar page.


We have expanded our photos page to include observations from both the CNFAIC forecasters as well as the public. Please keep checking this page as there will be lots of information to glean. Thanks to all the observations submitted so far!

Check out the training and calendar page on our site. Here you will find avalanche awareness talks and CNFAIC Staff education information. Including a link to an application for a snow safety scholarship offered by the Friends of the CNFAIC – a great opportunity! You must be a member but it’s only a minimal cost of $10.

A huge thanks to all our current members for your support! The Friends could not do it without you and us without the Friends.

Sat, November 12th, 2011
Above 2,500'
2 - Moderate
Avalanche risk
2 - Moderate
Avalanche risk
Below Treeline
Below 1,000'
2 - Moderate
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.
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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.