Turnagain Pass RSS

ARCHIVED - Forecasts expire after 24 hours.
Fri, November 23rd, 2018 - 7:00AM
Sat, November 24th, 2018 - 7:00AM
Avalanche risk The Bottom Line

The CNFAIC will be issuing  intermittent snow and avalanche updates  until there is enough snow to warrant daily avalanche advisories. We are closely monitoring a series of storms this weekend and you may see your first forecast any day now. Keep an eye on this page and be sure to ‘like’ us on facebook where we also share additional updates.  

Friday November 23rd Update:  

CHANGING WEATHER: A low pressure system is moving into our region bringing warm, wet and windy weather. A high wind warning was issued for Saturday for Turnagain Arm and higher elevations. Easterly winds will increase into the 50’s with gusts in the 80’s mph. Expect snow flurries to transition to heavy rain tomorrow (Saturday) as temps increase and the storm intensifies  mid-day. At this point a lot of uncertainty exists around how high the rain/snow line will go. Right now it looks like an 1″ of rain will fall below 1500′, and 12-15″ of wet snow in the upper elevations. Sunday and Monday look similar, possibly warmer, with another round of heavy rain and strong winds.

If the precip does fall as snow it’s important to have a good mental picture of what the surface conditions look like. Snow line is betwen 1500′ to 2000′ with exposed vegetation in the lower elevations. Rain last weekend followed by cool temps this week formed a crust to ridgetops where snow exists. On top of this crust is surface hoar formed from clear and humid conditions this week. Basically we might have a perfect recipe for avalanche activity in the upper elevations. Although we’re not issuing a danger rating quite yet, keep your eyes on Sunburst and Center Ridge weather stations. If temps stay below freezing and we get snow instead of rain we may see a forecast as early as Sunday or Monday.  

Should you decide to venture into the mountains this weekend, be aware of changing weather and red flag warnings. Avoid avalanche terrain if you see any of these obvious signs of instability:

  • Recent avalanches (24-48 hrs)
  • Cracks in the snow that shoot out from you
  • Whumpfing (collapsing) of the snowpack
  • Rapid changes in weather (snow/rain/wind/temperature)


Surface hoar and a thin layer of snow is covering the vegetation of lower Sunburst. Firm snow begins around alder-line (2000′).  


The perfect conditions for surface hoar growth are temps in the teens to 20F’s, high humidity, and light winds. Sunburst weather station is at 3800′.



Snowline is a little lower on Tincan, just above1500′


East facing slopes of Reapeat Offender on Seattle Ridge on Friday, November 23. Snowline is around 2000′.


Looking into Lynx Creek drainage, Northern aspects.

Fri, November 23rd, 2018
Above 2,500'
0 - No Rating
Avalanche risk
0 - No Rating
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
  • Announcement


Is your avalanche rescue equipment ready for the season?  

  • Beacon: do you have fresh batteries, no corrosion, and the latest update? Is your beacon outdated?
  • Airbag: Is it charged and software updated? Or does the canisiter need to be refilled?
  • Probe: Have you assembled it? 

Are your avalanche skills feeling rusty? Have you practiced your rescue skills with your partners yet? Its important both you and your partners have formal avalanche training and practice regularly to stay safe in the backcountry. If its been more than 5 years since you took an avalanche class consider taking a refresher or a one day rescue class. Click HERE to find a class.   

Check out this FREE interactive e-learning avalanche awareness course HERE. #knowbeforeyougo 


Do you prefer a throttle?

There are lots of great opporunities this winter for sledders in Alaska. Alaska Avalanche School is offering Level 1 classes specific for motorized users and will also do custom courses if you want to get a group of your friends together. Click HERE to find a course and sign up.  

Throttle Decisions: Show Component from Avalanche Canada on Vimeo.


Fri, November 23rd, 2018

For weather information during these updates, see:

CNFAIC Weather Page

NWS Mountain Recreation Forecast  

Recent Observations for Turnagain Pass
Date Region Location
11/27/23 Turnagain Avalanche: Tincan Ridge
11/26/23 Turnagain Observation: Road report: Slide with dirt on Repeat offender
11/26/23 Turnagain Observation: Pete’s North
11/25/23 Turnagain Observation: Tincan trees
11/21/23 Observation: Spokane Creek
11/20/23 Turnagain Observation: Sunburst
11/19/23 Turnagain Observation: Magnum – PMS Bowl
11/19/23 Other Regions Observation: Sunnyside/Penguin
11/19/23 Turnagain Observation: Eddies
11/19/23 Turnagain Observation: Cornbiscuit
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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.