Good morning. This is Kevin Wright with the Chugach National Forest Avalanche Information Center on Wednesday, January 18th at 7am. 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).
This Sunday January 22nd, CNFAIC forecasters will be hosting a FREE observer training day for snowmachiners! Please contact Graham at firstname.lastname@example.org for more details or to sign-up. Space is limited!
The avalanche danger is LOW with pockets of MODERATE. The core zone through Turnagain pass has lots of consistent information showing good stability with some minor sluffing in steep terrain.
Avalanche stability in the mountains is slowly stabilizing as we continue to have high pressure over Alaska. Weather has been clear and cold with limited wind and no snowfall for the last 5 days. A lack of change in weather conditions usually leads to a safer backcountry.
The primary concern today is focused on steep terrain where loose snow sluffing and small wind slabs can be found. Slopes angled less than 35 degrees will have a very low likelihood of finding any problems. We’ve had a lot of consistent observations from a variety of sources over the last few days showing the same problems or lack thereof in the backcountry.
Surface hoar has been building in some areas over the last few days. The distribution of surface hoar is very important to know before we get our next storm. It’s not a problem now, but can be a very dangerous collapsible weak layer if it gets buried by new snow on a steep slope. All observations regarding the surface hoar locations (elevation, aspect, region, terrain features, etc.) are appreciated.
Check out this video from Europe of a big mountain burial. We do not have conditions today that could lead to a large avalanche like this, but it’s still a good reminder to never let your guard down and stay vigilant when riding the mountains.
A blocking ridge of high pressure is the dominating weather feature over Alaska right now. The jet stream flow that brought us frequent storms over the last 2 months is now diverting the moisture South to the lower 48 states. Clear and cold weather is expected to continue for the next week. Gap wind in areas like Portage is likely to increase as a pressure gradient sets up over our region. We’ve also had a solid temperature inversion recently with colder temperatures at the valley bottoms and (relatively) warmer temperatures at the ridgetops.
CNFAIC Weather Page and the NWS forecast
Wendy will issue the next advisory Thursday morning. If you get out in the backcountry we want to know what you are seeing. Please send us your observations using the button at the top of this page or give us a call at 754-2369. Thanks and have a great day.