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ARCHIVED FORECAST - All forecasts expire after 24 hours from the posting date/time.
Issued
Sat, January 17th, 2015 - 7:00AM
Expires
Sun, January 18th, 2015 - 7:00AM
Forecaster
John Fitzgerald
Avalanche risk The Bottom Line

The avalanche danger is MODERATE in starting zones in the Alpine today.   Wind slabs 1 foot in depth with isolated pockets up to 3′ deep could be triggered by riders and skiers on slopes over 35 degrees.

The danger is generally LOW at Treeline, where a previously weak snowpack has refrozen on the surface.   Avalanches are unlikely in this mid elevation band (1,000-2,500′).   Exceptions to this will be in the form of glide avalanches which can be found scattered throughout the forecast area around the 2,500′ level.   Avoid glide cracks as they can release at any time without the typical warning signs.

Despite it being mid-January, early season conditions exist.   Expect to hike to about 1,500′ before being on snow.   Rocks, stumps, and open water are hazards to contend with in the lower and mid elevations.

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Sat, January 17th, 2015
Alpine
Above 2,500'
Moderate (2)
Avalanche risk
Treeline
1,000'-2,500'
Low (1)
Avalanche risk
Below Treeline
Below 1,000'
No Rating (0)
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
No Rating (0)
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

Yesterday my partner and I watched upper elevation starting zones being actively loaded by moderate winds out of the East.  These slabs will mostly be in the 1 foot range today with areas holding deeper pockets up to 3’.  Reactivity of these slabs will be on the decline throughout the day.  If you find yourself venturing into high elevation starting zones approach with caution.  It will take slope angles greater than 35 degrees to get slabs to release.  Watch for shooting cracks and check under the surface to see how well the new snow is bonding.

Avalanche Problem 2
  • Glide Avalanches
    Glide Avalanches
Glide Avalanches
Glide Avalanches are the release of the entire snow cover as a result of gliding over the ground. Glide avalanches can be composed of wet, moist, or almost entirely dry snow. They typically occur in very specific paths, where the slope is steep enough and the ground surface is relatively smooth. They are often proceeded by full depth cracks (glide cracks), though the time between the appearance of a crack and an avalanche can vary between seconds and months. Glide avalanches are unlikely to be triggered by a person, are nearly impossible to forecast, and thus pose a hazard that is extremely difficult to manage.
More info at Avalanche.org

Glide cracks have been opening up over the past 2 weeks around the forecast area on all aspects.  Most of the activity is in the mid elevations, around 2,500’.  We were able to see some newer cracks yesterday that had formed during this past week.  Glide avalanches are unpredictable and require avoidance, as they can release at anytime.  Glide avalanches don’t behave the same as new snow instabilities like wind slabs.  Simply knowing where glide cracks exist is half the battle.  Check the observations page for more info.

Photo: Glide crack that opened up sometime in the past week on Tincan, below Common Bowl.

Tincan glide

Weather
Sat, January 17th, 2015

Temperatures over the past 24 hours have cooled with freezing levels hovering around the 1,000-1,500′ level this morning.   Showery precipitation brought 1 € of new snow above 1,500′ and rain below.   Winds have slowed down overnight with ridgetop stations reporting speeds in the 5-10 mph range this morning out of the East.

Today expect cloudy skies with light precipitation.   Snow accumulation will be minimal with 1-2 € expected.   Rain/snow line will be around the 1,000′-1,500′ level.   Winds will be in the 5-10 mph range out of the East/Southeast.   Temps at 1,000 will climb into the mid 30s before cooling back down again overnight.

The general pattern will remain unsettled through the long weekend.   Expect rain and snow showers, light winds and temperatures to remain mild.

*Seattle wind data is 6 am-12am due to station malfunction.

PRECIPITATION 24-hour data (6am – 6am)

  Temp Avg (F) Snow (in) Water (in) Snow Depth (in)
Center Ridge (1880′) 32 1 .1 30
Summit Lake (1400′) 32 0 0 5
Alyeska Mid (1700′) 33 .3 .2 18

RIDGETOP 24-hour data (6am – 6am)

  Temp Avg (F) Wind Dir Wind Avg (mph) Wind Gust (mph)
Sunburst (3812′) 26 E 16 47
Seattle Ridge (2400′) 27 VAR* 14* 33*
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Riding Areas
Updated Thu, April 01st, 2021

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
Glacier District
Johnson Pass
Open
No parking in turnaround at end of the road near the outhouse.
Placer River
Open
Please do not ride along Railroad tracks. Cross tracks at 90 degree angle and clear the right of way.
Skookum Drainage
Closed
The Skookum Valley is closed to snowmachines. This closure occurs annually on April 1 as per the CNF Forest Plan.
Turnagain Pass
Open
Twentymile
Open
Please do not ride along Railroad tracks. Cross tracks at 90 degree angle and clear the right of way.
Seward District
Carter Lake
Open
Lost Lake Trail
Open
Primrose Trail
Open
Resurrection Pass Trail
Closed
Closed for the 2020/21 winter season.
Snug Harbor
Open
South Fork Snow River Corridor
Open
Summit Lake
Open

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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.