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ARCHIVED - Forecasts expire after 24 hours.
Sun, February 8th, 2015 - 7:00AM
Mon, February 9th, 2015 - 7:00AM
Wendy Wagner
Avalanche risk The Bottom Line

Most terrain in the Turnagain Pass region continues to have a  LOW  avalanche danger. The exceptions are areas that saw strong wind on Friday, such as the Girdwood Valley, where finding and triggering a lingering wind slab may be possible. These slabs are likely shallow (4-6″ thick), hard and pose the greatest threat in steep and rocky “no fall” terrain.

Special Announcements
  • Attention Ladies:  SheJumps, CNFAIC, and Alyeska Resort are joining forces to host a 2 hour avalanche companion rescue clinic at Alyeska Resort on Sunday, Feb.8 from 1pm-3pm. This is a free clinic for ladies only, and is a great place to practice your beacon skills. Click  HERE  for more info.
Sun, February 8th, 2015
Above 2,500'
1 - Low
Avalanche risk
1 - Low
Avalanche risk
Below Treeline
Below 1,000'
0 - No Rating
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

With over three weeks now of nearly no precipitation, our snowpack is old, tired and slowing being eaten away by cold and clear weather. Impressive surface hoar sits over faceted snow at the mid elevations while the upper elevations are a combination of several inches of faceted snow with varying degrees of older wind crusts. The good news is, there is a pattern change on the doorstep! We have warm and moist southerly flow on tap this coming week. The question is, how much precipitation will make it over the mountains from the Sound to our area? 

For those getting out today, we do have a few surface instabilities to watch out for:

Wind Slabs
Keep an eye out for stiff and shallow wind slabs formed by Friday’s strong winds, mainly in the Girdwood Valley area. Although these are expected to be relatively small, they are likely to be sitting on weak faceted snow and hard enough to allow a person onto one before it pops out. Seeking out the softer non-wind affected snow will be key for not only good turns, but avoiding one of these pockets as well.

Shallow sluffs on steep slopes, over 40 degrees, should be expected. These continue to be generally low volume and fairly slow moving.

Although the “ski/rideable” snow line remains high (1,500′ or so), there are still good turns to be salvaged! Most of Turnagain Pass was spared by the winds on Friday. Seattle Ridge is one of the windier spots at the Pass and still sports a couple inches of loose snow on the ridge proper. (Photo looking South, taken by Andy Moderow)

Sun, February 8th, 2015

Yesterday saw our first cloudy day in over a week. Light Easterly flow ushered in mid-level clouds along with very cold temperatures, single digits on the ridgetops that matched the frigid valley bottom temperatures hovering around 0F. Overnight, a rebound in temperature has begun as warmer air is on its way from the East.  

For today we can expect mostly cloudy skies with a few blue holes here and there. We may even see a few snowflakes make it out of the clouds. Winds should remain light (5-10mph) from the East with some stronger gusts on the peaks. Temperatures in valley bottoms will remain in the 0-10F range today but ridgetops should climb into the mid teens – balmy!

Our next shot at snow, more than just a few flakes, is coming up this week. As the dominant high pressure over mainland Alaska breaks down, a return to warm southerly flow associated with a large area of low pressure in the Gulf will move in. Right now, models are showing the bulk of precipitation to our Southeast, but we can still cross our fingers we will get a fresh coat of paint!

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

  Temp Avg (F) Snow (in) Water (in) Snow Depth (in)
Center Ridge (1880′) 7   0   0   31  
Summit Lake (1400′) 3   0   0 7  
Alyeska Mid (1700′) 7   0   0   22.5  

RIDGETOP 24-hour data (6am – 6am)

  Temp Avg (F) Wind Dir Wind Avg (mph) Wind Gust (mph)
Sunburst (3812′) 3   NE   8   18  
Seattle Ridge (2400′) 3   var   6   11  
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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.