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ARCHIVED FORECAST - All forecasts expire after 24 hours from the posting date/time.
Issued
Thu, February 8th, 2018 - 7:00AM
Expires
Fri, February 9th, 2018 - 7:00AM
Forecaster
Heather Thamm
The Bottom Line

The avalanche danger is  MODERATE  above 2,500′ for triggering a slab 1-2′ deep. Watch for cornices along ridgelines and €˜sluffs’ in steep terrain. LOW danger below 2500′ doesn’t mean No danger. Evaluate the terrain for consequences before committing to a slope.

*For the periphery zones, such as Girdwood to Portage Valley, and Johnson Pass to Summit Lake, more caution is advised where a slab could be larger and more connected.

Check out the Summit Lake Summary  HERE.

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Thu, February 8th, 2018
Alpine
Above 2,500'
Moderate (2)
Avalanche risk
Treeline
1,000'-2,500'
Low (1)
Avalanche risk
Below Treeline
Below 1,000'
Low (1)
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
Low (1)
Danger Scale:
No Rating (0)
Low (1)
Moderate (2)
Considerable (3)
High (4)
Extreme (5)
Avalanche Problem 1
  • Persistent Slabs
    Persistent Slabs
  • Almost Certain
    Very Likely
    Likely
    Possible
    Unlikely
    Likelihood
  • Historic
    Very Large
    Large
    Small
    Size
Persistent Slabs
Persistent Slab avalanches are the release of a cohesive layer of snow (a slab) in the middle to upper snowpack, when the bond to an underlying persistent weak layer breaks. Persistent layers include: surface hoar, depth hoar, near-surface facets, or faceted snow. Persistent weak layers can continue to produce avalanches for days, weeks or even months, making them especially dangerous and tricky. As additional snow and wind events build a thicker slab on top of the persistent weak layer, this avalanche problem may develop into a Deep Persistent Slab.

Likelihood of Avalanches
This graphic depicts how likely you are to trigger avalanches or encounter natural avalanches while traveling on avalanche prone slopes. Unlikely means that few avalanches could be triggered in avalanche terrain and natural avalanches are not expected. The chance of triggering or observing avalanches increases as we move up the scale. Certain means that humans will be able to trigger avalanches on many slopes, and natural avalanches should be expected.

Size of Avalanches
This graphic depicts the potential size and destructive force of expected avalanches. Small avalanches are not large enough to bury humans and are relatively harmless unless they carry people over cliffs or through trees or rocks. Moving up the scale, avalanches become large enough to bury, injure, or kill people, large enough to bury or destroy vehicles and break a few trees, and large enough to destroy railway cars, buildings, or a substantial amount of forest. Historic avalanches are massive events capable of destroying villages and gouging or altering the landscape.
More info at Avalanche.org

Several inches of new snow fell inTurnagain Pass on Tuesday combined with elevated ridge top winds. Yesterday several small natural slabs were noted in the Seattle Creek zone and activity near Byron Glacier was also reported. Several weak layers are buried within the top 1-2’ of the snowpack, most notably the 1/21 buried surface hoar which has been responsible for the scattered avalanche activity over the last two weeks. In Portage, where 8-10” of snow fell on Tuesday, recently buried surface hoar could be an additional new layer of concern in this area.    

Over the last week in Turnagain Pass, slabs have been relatively small and hard to find, considering the high volume of snowmachine and skier/rider traffic this area has seen. Don’t let old tracks fool you into thinking all these slopes are safe. If you see evidence of wind-pillowed snow or stiff snow over weak snow, be cautious in steep terrain. Snow that was once loose may have become more cohesive and ‘slab-like’ in the alpine on specific terrain features. Before committing to steep terrain, identify terrain traps like gullies, cliffs or rocks below and consider the consequences if even a small slab is released.   

*Deep Persistent Slab:  Weak snow can still be found near the ground at the upper most elevations in our forecast area, 3,000′ – 5,000′. Although triggering a Deep Persistent Slab is very unlikely, it is worth keeping in mind that poor structure does exist at the high elevations.

A thinner and weaker snowpack is more suspect in Summit Lake and the far Southern end of Turnagain Pass, where a skier triggered avalanche occurred on Saturday (Feb.3) on the East face of Twin Peaks, along the edge of our forecast zone. This avalanche stepped down into older layers of the snowpack. The party’s account can be found HERE and stay tuned for a near miss report coming soon. 

 

 

Wind affected snow was more obvious on the Northern end of Turnagain Pass yesterday. Photo of Western Bowl of Wolverine.

 

In addition to the 1/21 buried surface hoar we are also tracking a facet/crust combo between 2500’ and 3500’ that has shown propagation potential recently. 

 

Additional Concern
  • Dry Loose
    Dry Loose
Dry Loose
Dry Loose avalanches are the release of dry unconsolidated snow and typically occur within layers of soft snow near the surface of the snowpack. These avalanches start at a point and entrain snow as they move downhill, forming a fan-shaped avalanche. Other names for loose-dry avalanches include point-release avalanches or sluffs.
More info at Avalanche.org

Loose snow avalanches (’sluffs’): In Turnagain Pass a few inches of loose dry snow fell Tuesday and numerous small point releases were observed yesterday. In places protected from recent winds, expect this loose snow to be small in volume, but could slide easily in steeper terrain with the weight of a person. Watch your ‘sluff’ and be aware of the consequences below you.

Cornices: Cornices are unpredictable and can break further back along a ridge than expected. Give these features plenty of space.

 

Very shallow sluffs in steep terrain from the new snow on Feb 6. Photo taken in Seattle Creek yesterday. 

Weather
Thu, February 8th, 2018

Yesterday skis were partly cloudy with some patches of valley fog. Ridge top winds were light and variable. Temps at all elevations dipped into the teens (F) with pockets of cooler air, single digits, in  some valley bottoms. In   coastal areas temps remained in low 20F’s. No precipitation was recorded.  

Today expect clear skies and temperatures to increase into the mid 20F’s. Ridgetop winds will be light from the Southeast and no precipitation is expected.  

Friday should be partly cloudy with increasing cloud cover in the evening. Temperatures may increase into the upper 20F’s. There is a chance for snow showers over the weekend and a possibility ridgetop winds may increase to moderate on Saturday, but there remains much uncertainty in the details of the extended forecast at this point.  

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

  Temp Avg (F) Snow (in) Water (in) Snow Depth (in)
Center Ridge (1880′) 20   0   0   63  
Summit Lake (1400′) 12   0   0   20  
Alyeska Mid (1700′) 19   0   0   52  

RIDGETOP 24-hour data (6am – 6am)

  Temp Avg (F) Wind Dir Wind Avg (mph) Wind Gust (mph)
Sunburst (3812′) 15   WNW   4   16  
Seattle Ridge (2400′)  15 ENE   4   12  
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Riding Areas
Updated Wed, December 11th, 2019

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
Closed
Closed.
Placer River
Closed
Closed.
Skookum Drainage
Closed
Closed.
Turnagain Pass
Closed
Closed.
Twentymile
Closed
Closed.
Seward District
Carter Lake
Closed
Closed.
Lost Lake Trail
Closed
Closed.
Primrose Trail
Closed
Closed.
Resurrection Pass Trail
Closed
Closed. Will be open for the 2019/20 season pending adequate snow cover.
Snug Harbor
Closed
Closed.
South Fork Snow River Corridor
Closed
Closed.
Summit Lake
Closed
Closed.

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