Another sunny and cold day will continue to slowly reduce our persistent avalanche problem. We are still receiving reports of collapsing in the snowpack from folks getting off the beaten path into untracked, upper elevation areas which points directly to lingering slabs that can still be triggered by a person if the slope is steep enough. It is these areas we are most concerned with and that keep our danger above treeline at MODERATE.
That said, the majority of the terrain where people have been recreating lately is lacking a slab and the 2-3’ of snow cover consists mostly of various layers of weak, unsupportable snow. There has been a little too much P-Tex left out there not to my, or I believe anyone’s, liking.
As far as the surface conditions go, there is still plenty of soft “square powder” in wind sheltered locations. However, the past few days saw enough wind to form a thin, breakable crust in higher elevation exposed areas – not helping to improve the riding conditions and something to keep in mind with any new snow as the thin crust sits on very weak near surface facets. Surface hoar is anywhere between nonexistent up to 1cm above treeline but is growing some very large and impressive feathers in the creek bottoms.
As powder starved as we are right now, and with the hope of a shift in the weather for precip in the next week, we need to remember that our snowpack from top to bottom is full of weak layers. To use Kevin’s “tent” analogy from yesterday, the tent is made of any of the following weaknesses from the peaks down to sea level: facets, surface hoar, near surface facets, depth hoar and crust/facet sandwiches. Things could get quite interesting very quickly avalanche wise once the snow finally does head our way.
This will be the 13th day in a row where sub-zero temperatures plague the lower elevations and parking lots in response to a region-wide inversion under clear skies. This morning is one the coldest so far: -21F in Portage (10ft above sea level) and warming with elevation to only +10F at the Sunburst weather station (3812ft). The good news is the wind has stayed fairly well behaved. Ridgetop winds switched around to the NW and W yesterday and are blowing around 5mph with gusts to 10mph currently, this is where they are expected to remain through the day.
It still looks like we could get a large scale pattern shift this coming week and a possible flurry or two Wednesday and Thursday with hopefully more soon after that. We should have a much better handle on this for Tuesday’s forecast so stay tuned.
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).
I will issue the next advisory Tuesday morning, December 4th.
|01/31/23||Turnagain||Observation: Johnson Pass area||Megan Guinn / W Wagner Forecaster|
|01/29/23||Turnagain||Observation: Tincan Backdoor||AAS-Level 1 1/27-1/30|
|01/28/23||Turnagain||Observation: Sunburst||Brooke Edwards|
|01/28/23||Turnagain||Avalanche: Seattle Ridge||W Wagner|
|01/28/23||Turnagain||Observation: Tincan Common||Tony Naciuk|
|01/27/23||Turnagain||Observation: Sunburst||John Sykes|
|01/27/23||Turnagain||Avalanche: Lynx Creek||Megan Guinn / W Wagner|
|01/25/23||Turnagain||Observation: Cornbiscuit||John Sykes Forecaster|
|01/22/23||Turnagain||Avalanche: Tincan||Schauer/ Guinn|
|01/21/23||Turnagain||Avalanche: Seattle Ridge||Elias Holt|
Status of riding areas across the Chugach NF is managed by the Glacier and Seward Ranger Districts, not avalanche center staff. Riding area information is posted as a public service to our users and updated based on snow depth and snow density to prevent resource damage at trailhead locations. Riding area questions contact: firstname.lastname@example.org
|Area||Status||Weather & Riding Conditions|
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.