Observation: Chugach State Park

Location: North Bowl - South Fork Eagle River

Route & General Observations

Standard uptrack from SFER trailhead to the top of North Bowl. Skied several laps on the main North Bowl run with surprisingly only a handful of other folks. Conditions were overall fantastic, especially for the Front Range in early Nov, with ~ 2′ of soft settled powder that had not been touched by the winds, yet…

Red Flags
Red flags are simple visual clues that are a sign of potential avalanche danger. Please record any sign of red flags below.
Obvious signs of instability
Recent Avalanches?Yes
Collapsing (Whumphing)?Yes
Cracking (Shooting cracks)?Yes
Observer Comments

Climbing the main uptrack on North Bowl before the final pitch to the top, we experienced several audible whumpfs and a few long shooting cracks. We dug a hasty pit and found a soft wind slab that formed near the tail end of Thursday's storm, which was capped by several inches of low density snow. The winds were generally from the E/SE during that time (moving L to R when looking up the skin track) so the wind slab had formed on more westerly facing aspects. At the bottom of the snowpack was a combo melt-freeze crust with well developed facets at the ground. This was likely the weak layer causing the whumpfing and shooting cracks. There was also debris from small mid-storm wind slab avalanches and cornice collapses in the very top part of the bowl. Most skiers stayed on the skier's left side of the bowl with no incidents.

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

Low clouds with bad vis until about 11am, then just low valley fog with mid level clouds. Skies mostly cleared up in the afternoon. Light NW winds with temps around 20F

Snow surface

~2ft of soft settled powder. No wind effect found on the surface. About as good as it gets in the Front Range

Photos & Video
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