Observation: Chugach State Park

Location: Peak 3

Route & General Observations

Standard track up Peak 3 to see how well the new snow was bonding to the old snow and to see how/if the wind affected the snowpack. Lastly, we wanted to monitor deeper layers within the snowpack.

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


11:00 am: -7F in the parking lot, clear, no wind, no precip
1:00 pm: 0F to -1F at snowpit location, clear, no wind, no precip
2:30 pm: -6F in the parking lot, clear, no wind, no precip

Snow surface

Roughly one foot of light, low-density, dreamy snow. The new snow is not well bonded to the old snow. The new snow had not formed a consolidated slab layer where we toured.


We dug two snow pits right next to each other and got similar test results. Snowpit info is below:

Location: Peak 3
Elevation: 3,131'
Aspect: NW
Slope: 30 degrees
Test results: ECTP25 in one pit and ECTN22 on near-surface facets under a wind layer roughly 13" down from the snow surface. This shows there is a weaker interface just under a foot deep, but it took a lot of force for it to fail and only propagated in one pit. There have been no known avalanches at this interface.

We felt comfortable skiing in this area. One foot of new snow did not seem like enough snow to overload the weaker layers in the snowpack. Plus, the snow that came in was light, low-density snow, and the structure of our snowpit in this particular location was generally lighter snow over denser snow.

Moving forward- the biggest concern is that there is roughly 1' of light snow available for wind transport when moderate to strong NW winds hit the Front Range. When strong winds hit the range again, there is a lot of snow available to form wind slabs and to load specific areas.

Photos & Video
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