Avalanche: Chugach State Park

Location: Ship Creek Drainage

Route & General Observations

Ship Creek Drainage directly adjacent and behind Arctic Valley T-bar

Avalanche Details
If this is an avalanche observation, click yes below and fill in the form as best as you can. If people were involved, please provide details.
Trigger SkierRemote Trigger No
Avalanche Type Soft SlabAspect Southwest
Elevation 3400ftSlope Angle 40deg
Crown Depth 4inWidth 15ft
Vertical Run 1500ft  
Near Miss / Accident Details
Number Caught/Carried? 1Number Partially Buried?0
Number Fully Buried?0Number Injured?0
Number Fatalities?0  
Avalanche Details

Very small wind pocket in a rock band caught and carried skier 25 ft vertical. Skier self arrested. However the debris from the small pocket caused a step down roughly 100ft vertical below were skier stopped pulling out a larger pocket. (See photos)

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)?No
Cracking (Shooting cracks)?No
Observer Comments

Thin wind scour snow pack at ridge top. Whumphing and collapsing in the low angle terrain. Initial avalanche failed in old wind layers. The more significant step down failed on the recent new snow/old snow interface at around 3000ft in elevation with a crown that varied from 10cm to 50cm. Multiple avalanches noted from this storm cycle off the south ridge of Taylor Pass and North Bowl.

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

Mostly cloudy skies with moderate SE winds.Temps steady in mid to high teens. Past weather notable for several inches of snow Friday into Saturday morning associated with strong SE winds. On Saturday winds shifted to the NW briefly from 7p to 1a with sustained teens and gusts to mid-thirties.

Snow surface

Wind scour at ridge tops.
A combination of soft and wind effect snow at mid elevations.
Softy snow conditions in lower elevations.


Total snow depths varied widely from 200+cm in deeper wind pockets and gullies, contrasted with a more modest depth of 60-90cm across much of the slope. The moderate to strong winds from the SE then the NW of the last 48 hours created a complex pattern of thin wind slabs on top of pencil hard strutugi/ground at ridge-top elevations with thicker bands of soft snow at mid-elevation. There was considerable spatial variability at these mid-elevations in snow density ranging from from 1F+ to F. The layer of facets at the base of the snowpack is not subtle and appeared widespread in the area adjacent the avalanche path. Depth of faceted snow varied from 10cm to upward of 60cm in test pits of total snowpack.

Photos & Video
Please upload photos below. Maximum of 5 megabytes per image. Click here for help on resizing images. If you are having trouble uploading please email images separately to staff.