|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.
It has been close to a week since high winds and snow created unstable conditions. In that time temperatures have plummeted and the snowpack has adjusted in areas that saw significant loading. With that in mind, there are still two issues to be aware of today:
Isolated pockets of stiff wind slab up to 10” thick exist in many areas. For the most part it is very difficult to trigger one of these pockets. In terrain over 40 degrees be on the lookout for these pockets and minimize your exposure by moving one at a time when encountering this snowpack/terrain combo.
Loose Snow Sluffing
Skier and rider triggered sluffing will be possible in the few areas that were not affected by recent winds. On steep sustained slopes over 40 degrees expect sluffs to be fast moving and have enough volume to knock you over. Be aware of your sluff and move away from it before it gains volume.
As always, practicing effective terrain management techniques will be important in managing these minor issues as well as help to reinforce good habits for times when the snowpack is less stable.
-Expose one person at a time on suspect slopes
-Identify and utilize islands of safety for spotting and re grouping
-Recognize and identify escape options when assessing your route
-Communicate decisions and route options within your group
-Be aware of other groups above and below
Temperatures over the past 24 hours have remained frigid, with ridgetops in the negative digits and just above 0 F at 1,000′. Winds were light out of the Northwest. Skies were mostly clear and no precipitation fell.
Today will be more of the same with temps climbing slightly onto the positive side of 0 F along ridgetops. Winds will increase slightly as well out of the Northwest at 10-15 mph. Remember it only takes a little wind to increase the potential for frostbite.
A shift in the pattern will take place as we move through the weekend. Clouds and warmer temps will move in ahead of a low moving across the Alaska peninsula tonight. Snow will begin tomorrow and last into the early part of next week.
|Temp Avg (F)
|Snow Depth (in)
|Center Ridge (1880′)
|Summit Lake (1400′)
|Alyeska Mid (1700′)
|Temp Avg (F)
|Wind Avg (mph)
|Wind Gust (mph)
|Seattle Ridge (2400′)
|Observation: Seattle Ridge
|John Sykes Forecaster
|Observation: Kickstep NE Bowl
|Observation: TinCan Backdoor/ Center Ridge
|AAS L1 Turnagain
|Avalanche: Lynx Creek
|Observation: Turnagain, Seattle, Mt Ascension
|Silverton Mountain Guides
|Observation: Tincan Trees
|Dalpes/Thamm/ Schauer Forecaster
|Observation: Seward Highway across from Johnson Pass TH
|Avalanche: Base of Seattle Ridge
|Troy Tempel, Thomas Lees, .Josh Bollaert, Damian Naquin