After a brief break in storms yesterday, another pulse of moisture added 5-6+” of new snow last night, with an additional 2-3″ expected today. It’s starting to look like winter up at the Pass! Yesterday also was the 1st time in over 18 months that enough snow covered the ground to allow the Chugach National Forest to open to motorized use. Many, many folks were out enjoying the day as well as testing the slope stability. After a good thumping by snowmachines, we only had one report of a sled triggered avalanche. This was remotely triggered in 2nd Bowl (Junior’s Bowl). If anyone has additional information regarding any other avalanche activity please send us a quick note HERE.
Avalanche conditions today will be mainly confined to storm snow issues. These are:
WIND SLABS: Strong winds blew from a generally East direction last night accompanying the snowfall. With the new snow plus plenty existing snow available for transport, watch for any slope that has been freshly wind loaded. These slabs are likely to be around a foot thick, but do have the potential to ‘step down’ into deeper layers and trigger a larger avalanche. Watch for cracks that shoot from your snowmachine/skis/board and areas with a smooth rounded surface texture – these are signs that a wind slab is present and could slide if the slope is steep enough.
SLUFFS: Sluffs on steep slopes should be expected within today’s light snow.
Again as Heather pointed out yesterday, the snowpack is dramatically thicker on the North end of the Turnagain Pass. With that said, the South side of the Pass is slowly filling in. Photo below is from Mike Records from the Silver Tip area:
The motorized lot on opening day 2015/16.
Under the 16-30″ of storm snow from the past 5 days sits both a layer of Buried Surface Hoar (BSH) and a layer of Near Surface Facets (NSF). Although one of these layers may be the culprit for the avalanche yesterday, we cannot say that for certain since we were not able to investigate. We do know stability tests are showing mixed results, with the general theme of no reactivity. Although it is becoming unlikely to trigger a large avalanche breaking 2+’ down, it is not out of the question and something to keep in the back of our heads.
A look at a layer of BSH at 3,100′ on a SW aspect – you can see the ‘thin gray’ line in the middle of the snow (Photo credit Andy Moderow, report HERE). This layer is not found everywhere and since it can be a problem layer for avalanche activity, we are tracking it.
Yesterday afternoon skies clouded over, Easterly winds picked up and snow began to fall as a quick moving system rolled through. Between 5-6″ of snow fell overnight with Easterly winds averaging in the 30’s and 40’s mph. Temperatures have climbed slightly and are sitting near 20F on the ridgetops and near 30F at sea level.
Today, intermittent snow showers will linger with mostly cloudy skies. We may pick up an additional 2-3″ in favored areas. Winds have decreased this morning and will be in the 5-15mph range from the East.
Tuesday night through Thursday another round of snowfall is expected as a strong low-pressure moves into the gulf.
|Temp Avg (F)||Snow (in)||Water (in)||Snow Depth (in)|
|Center Ridge (1880′)||23||5||0.4||41|
|Summit Lake (1400′)||21||2||0.2||14|
|Alyeska Mid (1700′)||24||6||0.42||35|
|Temp Avg (F)||Wind Dir||Wind Avg (mph)||Wind Gust (mph)|
|Seattle Ridge (2400′)||19||N/A||N/A||N/A|
|05/22/23||Turnagain||Avalanche: Tincan||Nick D'Alessio|
|05/12/23||Turnagain||Avalanche: Tincan, Sunburst, Magnum, Cornbiscuit||Heather Thamm|
|05/07/23||Turnagain||Observation: Tincan – Bear Tracks||CNFAIC Staff|
|05/05/23||Turnagain||Observation: Seattle Ridge||AS/ WW Forecaster|
|05/02/23||Turnagain||Observation: Cornbiscuit||Schauer/ Sturgess Forecaster|
|05/02/23||Turnagain||Observation: Seward Hwy Turnagain Pass||Joel Curtis|
|04/30/23||Turnagain||Observation: Magnum||Ayla, Kit Crosby, Barton|
|04/29/23||Turnagain||Observation: Tincan||John Sykes|
|04/28/23||Turnagain||Avalanche: Taylor Pass/Pastoral||Schauer/ Creighton Forecaster|
|04/28/23||Turnagain||Avalanche: Tincan||Andy Moderow|
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: firstname.lastname@example.org
|Area||Status||Weather & Riding Conditions|
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.