Turnagain Pass Avalanche Forecast
Merry Christmas! Skiers and riders got a big Christmas present today in the form of the biggest storm of the year… Unfortunately it’s too much to play with today. Girdwood and Turnagain Pass are trying to adjust to 2-3 feet of new snow in the last 24 hours, which has the avalanche danger pegged at HIGH. Even playing below treeline is going to be difficult and potentially dangerous with this much new snow.
We are issuing an Avalanche Warning today, meaning HIGH avalanche danger can be found across a wide region. Backcountry travel is not recommended.
This morning, natural avalanches have been reported along the Seward Highway and in Girdwood. It’s undoubtedly avalanching spontaneously across the region, but the storm is too thick for us to see much yet. Open your Christmas presents, relax, enjoy the day off, and be safe.
Wind has been blowing into the 60s at the ridgetops along with all that new snow. Natural avalanche activity started sometime yesterday and got bigger overnight as the new snow piled up. Despite a taper expected this morning in the storm intensity, the possibility of natural and human triggered avalanches will remain high this morning. With this much snow we can expect large avalanches to run down into valley bottoms, making safe areas difficult to determine even below treeline. The best travel advice today is to stay away from the Kenai peninsula or go to Alyeska.
Areas below treeline that are less wind affected will still have a huge amount of new snow. All this new weight is sitting on a very weak base from early winter. There is nothing good about this combination… The stress of the new snow will be exceeding the strength of the underlying foundation. Let’s give it time to go through the natural avalanche cycle before we go play in the new snow.
By mid afternoon yesterday the backcountry in Turnagain was already so deep that it was difficult to ski. The snow depth has doubled since then… Again, the best advice is to stay away until the snowpack has time to adjust to this massive new load.
24 hour storm totals as of 5am
Turnagain Pass – 24-30 inches snow, 2+ inches of water
Alyeska – 25-36 inches snow, 3+ inches of water
Wind reaching over 60 mph at most ridgetop weather stations.
Temperatures have risen during the storm, with some rain at low elevations. The storm is expected to taper this morning both in wind and precipitation. Tomorrow morning another pulse is expected to hit with more heavy snow and high wind across our region. The Blizzard Warning is canceled, but the storm is not over.
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).
Wendy will issue the next advisory Wednesday morning December 26th.
|05/22/23||Turnagain||Avalanche: Tincan||Nick D'Alessio|
|05/12/23||Turnagain||Avalanche: Tincan, Sunburst, Magnum, Cornbiscuit||Heather Thamm|
|05/07/23||Turnagain||Observation: Tincan – Bear Tracks||CNFAIC Staff|
|05/05/23||Turnagain||Observation: Seattle Ridge||AS/ WW Forecaster|
|05/02/23||Turnagain||Observation: Cornbiscuit||Schauer/ Sturgess Forecaster|
|05/02/23||Turnagain||Observation: Seward Hwy Turnagain Pass||Joel Curtis|
|04/30/23||Turnagain||Observation: Magnum||Ayla, Kit Crosby, Barton|
|04/29/23||Turnagain||Observation: Tincan||John Sykes|
|04/28/23||Turnagain||Avalanche: Taylor Pass/Pastoral||Schauer/ Creighton Forecaster|
|04/28/23||Turnagain||Avalanche: Tincan||Andy Moderow|
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|
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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.