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Thu, March 6th, 2014 - 7:00AM
Fri, March 7th, 2014 - 7:00AM
Kevin Wright
Avalanche risk The Bottom Line

Avalanche danger continues to be LOW across our forecast zone.  The shot of snow that impacted Anchorage yesterday had very little effect to the south of Anchorage.  Mountains around Girdwood got up to 3 inches of light snow, Turnagain Pass got about an inch.  This minimal snowfall did not change the avalanche danger in our area.  

Surface conditions are still supportable crust interspersed with old raised tracks.  Skiing and riding quality is poor.  This crust could allow for easy travel into the far reaches of the Chugach on skinny skis or a fat tire bike.  

Special Announcements

Turnagain Pass is now CLOSED to motorized use due to shallow snowpack and patches of bare ground.  Johnson Pass north and Placer river remain OPEN.

Join CNFAIC forecasters John Fitzgerald and Wendy Wagner at  REI tonight from 6-7:30pm  for a presentation on this season’s unusual weather, snow and avalanche cycles.    To reserve a seat go to REI’s website on this link.

Thu, March 6th, 2014
Above 2,500'
1 - Low
Avalanche risk
1 - Low
Avalanche risk
Below Treeline
Below 1,000'
1 - Low
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.
Avalanche Problem 1
  • Normal Caution
    Normal Caution
Normal Caution
Normal Caution means triggering an avalanche is unlikely but not impossible.
More info at Avalanche.org

A complete lack of soft snow below 4000 feet makes avalanches an unlikely possibility.  

We’ve had a recent pattern of melt/freeze: temperatures alternating into the 40s F during day and freezing hard at night.  This has consolidated the snowpack and made it strong and firm.  Despite the presence of several crust layers, the snowpack is quite stable.  

Exceptions could exist at very high elevations that were not affected by melting temperatures.  If you look hard enough there are always be outliers to be found.  

Cornices are the other stability exception.  Unstable overhanging curls of snow at ridge crests can be found without much searching.  They can and will break back farther than expected if a person were to step onto one of these features.


Thu, March 6th, 2014

The snowfall yesterday hit Anchorage harder than Girdwood or Turnagain Pass.  There may be a slight benefit to the quality of skiing from this 1-3 inches of snow, but it is minimal.  

Mostly cloudy skies this morning will become partly cloudy by tonight.  Patchy fog in the morning.  A few flurries in the morning are not expected to produce significant snow on the ground.  Temperatures will reach into the lower 30s.  Wind will be 0-10mph.  

A chance of snow is forecasted for the weekend, but it doesn’t look like a major storm that will produce much snow.  

Recent Observations for Turnagain Pass
Date Region Location
02/24/24 Turnagain Observation: TinCan Backdoor/ Center Ridge
02/22/24 Turnagain Avalanche: Lynx Creek
02/22/24 Turnagain Observation: Turnagain, Seattle, Mt Ascension
02/21/24 Turnagain Observation: Tincan Trees
02/21/24 Turnagain Observation: Sunburst
02/20/24 Turnagain Avalanche: Tincan
02/20/24 Turnagain Observation: Seward Highway across from Johnson Pass TH
02/19/24 Turnagain Avalanche: Base of Seattle Ridge
02/18/24 Turnagain Observation: Lynx creek
02/18/24 Turnagain Observation: Tincan Trees
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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.