Observation: Chugach State Park

Location: Arctic Valley

Route & General Observations

Top of TBar at Arctic Ski Valley. Joined ski patrol members to assess snow conditions from recent storm.
Ski area received ~1 ft new light dry snow by midday on Monday. This has fallen over variable old snowpack that was thin and mostly faceted with depth hoar present under most of the snowpack in this region of the Chugach. Despite the snowpack being made mostly of all weak layers at this point, there is the presence of old stiff windslabs present in isolated ridge, gully, and rollover terrain. This is a moderate-strong slab sitting over a thick layer of depth hoar, and is now hidden under the new light snow.
Searched out a windslab are in particular to evaluate, but was only able to find a small and variable snow height pit amongst the rocks on the ridge. See pit profile.

Red Flags
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Observer Comments


Weather & Snow Characteristics
Please provide details to help us determine the weather and snowpack during the time this observation took place.

2 degrees F, moderate snowfall, light NW winds

Snow surface

new snow. ~1 ft storm depth


see profile. Stability tests indicate windslab is not very sensitive to failure. Much spatial variability in the Front Range snowpack also keeps this from being a large avalanche problem. But larger more consistent slabs are present in some areas. Good to keep in mind as they are now hidden well under the new snow, and difficult to assess their strength without some prodding in the snowpack...(especially knowing there is likely a substantial weak layer (DH) present underneath most of the snow).

Photos & Video
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