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Sat, April 12th, 2014 - 7:00AM
Sun, April 13th, 2014 - 7:00AM
Kevin Wright
Avalanche risk The Bottom Line

A change in the weather will be changing the snow stability today.  Look for pockets of  MODERATE   avalanche danger as wind slabs build above treeline.  Shaded northerly aspects are holding plenty of soft snow that can be blown around by today’s forecasted wind.  

Special Announcements

Lost Lake, Primrose, and Resurrection pass trail have closed to snowmachines due to inadequate snow cover.  Check the bottom of this page for the latest information on motorized areas.  

Sat, April 12th, 2014
Above 2,500'
2 - Moderate
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
  • 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

Most of the sunny faces (south, east, and west) are crusty at the surface.  This is not the case for north faces, which hold 6+ inches of soft snow.  With forecasted wind today, that soft snow may build into slabs of unstable snow.  This morning the biggest danger is probably just loose snow sluffing, but after the wind kicks up that will change to smaller pockets of wind slab.  

Any freshly formed wind slab will be poorly bonded to the snow underneath.  Expect it to be hair trigger today if you approach any steep terrain.

By tomorrow this wind slab may be joined with fresh storm snow, but that snowfall is not expected to be significant today.  

The photo below shows distribution of sun crusted terrain.  The bowl is west facing, the slopes on the left face south, the slopes on the right face north.  Everything left of the black line has a surface crust.  Everything right of the line is soft and loose.

Sat, April 12th, 2014

Clouds have taken over our previously sunny skies.  A chance of rain and snow is possible today, with very little accumulation expected.  Wind will increase, look for ridgetop wind to hit 15-30mph today and 25-45mph tonight from the southeast.  Temperatures will reach the high 30s during the day and drop to the high 20s at night.

Precipitation is likely to increase on Sunday with snowfall accumulating.  Total depths are not expected to exceed about 6 inches in the mountains, but stay tuned as those numbers get updated.  

Latest infrared satellite image.

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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.