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Turnagain Pass Avalanche Forecast RSS

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ARCHIVED FORECAST - All forecasts expire after 24 hours from the posting date/time.
Issued
Fri, December 7th, 2012 - 7:00AM
Expires
Sat, December 8th, 2012 - 7:00AM
Forecaster
Graham Predeger
The Bottom Line

The avalanche danger remains MODERATE today above treeline due to the potential for skiers to trigger wind slabs specifically on slopes steeper than 35 degrees.   Natural avalanches are unlikely today at all elevations and the avalanche danger will remain LOW below treeline.  

A major shift in our weather pattern this weekend has the potential to stress our snowpack and complicate our avalanche problem in the Turnagain area, so stay tuned!

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Fri, December 7th, 2012
Alpine
Above 2,500'
Moderate (2)
Avalanche risk
Treeline
1,000'-2,500'
Low (1)
Avalanche risk
Below Treeline
Below 1,000'
Low (1)
Avalanche risk
Alpine
Above 2,500'
Avalanche risk
Moderate (2)
Treeline
1,000'-2,500'
Avalanche risk
Low (1)
Below Treeline
Below 1,000'
Avalanche risk
Low (1)
Danger Scale:
No Rating (0)
Low (1)
Moderate (2)
Considerable (3)
High (4)
Extreme (5)
Avalanche Problem 1
  • Wind Slabs
    Wind Slabs
Wind Slabs
Wind Slab avalanches are the release of a cohesive layer of snow (a slab) formed by the wind. Wind typically transports snow from the upwind sides of terrain features and deposits snow on the downwind side. Wind slabs are often smooth and rounded and sometimes sound hollow, and can range from soft to hard. Wind slabs that form over a persistent weak layer (surface hoar, depth hoar, or near-surface facets) may be termed Persistent Slabs or may develop into Persistent Slabs.
More info at Avalanche.org

Much of our snow cover from the valley bottom to ridge tops consists of weak, unconsolidated facets in one form or another.  This is the type of snow you can’t make a snowball out of to save your life.  You may be able to find pockets of more consolidated snow (wind slabs) on the lee sides of ridges and gullies above treeline, but these too have a foundation of weak facets creating a very poor snowpack structure.  It should be quite obvious today if you venture onto a slab as it’ll have a hollow, supportive feel to it.  This surface will feel very different from the last several thousand feet of “sugar snow” you just ski-toured up through.  These wind slab pockets are the primary concern today and triggering one will likely result in a full depth avalanche running to the valley floor.  With a shallow, faceted snowpack consequences of triggering one of these wind slabs may leave you broken and battered if caught.

It’ll be important today to understand and come to grips with what our seasonal snowpack looks like to date as this weekend looks to be ushering in our first real winter storm of the season.  What snow we have on the ground now will soon be buried and act as a foundation for the rest of the season.  Expect our avalanche problems and associated danger rating to change with this impending storm.

Weather
Fri, December 7th, 2012

A change in our weather pattern of the last several weeks has begun as the cold arctic air mass that has dominated the south central region begins to break down.   We still have a temperature inversion between sea level (0 degrees in Portage) and 3800′ (15 degrees at Sunburst weather station) but expect this to break down by tomorrow morning as well.   Today will be a transition day where we can expect ridgetop winds to shift from a west-northwest direction to more east-southeast as a low pressure system in the gulf builds in strength and enters our forecast area late tonight or Saturday morning.   Cloud cover in the Turnagain pass region will build today with this approaching front with a few flurries possible by this afternoon.

The bulk of this approaching storm will impact our area Saturday afternoon through Sunday.   The eastern Kenai Peninsula looks to be favored with models suggesting 12-24 € of snow in localized areas (1-2 € of water equivalent).   Expect blizzard conditions all day Saturday as winds associated with this storm are forecast to be 30-45mph from the east, likely higher at ridge top locations.  


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).  

Kevin will issue the next advisory Saturday morning, December 8th.

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Riding Areas
Updated Mon, October 26th, 2020

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: mailroom_r10_chugach@fs.fed.us

Area Status Weather & Riding Conditions
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Turnagain Pass
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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.