Observation: Seward

Location: Snug Harbor

Route & General Observations

Snowmachined from Snug Harbor to Primrose. We wanted to see how well the new snow was bonding to the older snow. There was about 12 to 18″ of new snow with a lot of variability in wind affected areas.  In hand pit tests we did not get concerning results, however the test failed just above a crust that was likely the old snow interface. Steep south facing slopes had rollerballs and small wet loose avalanches likely from the sun in the afternoon. We did see widespread avalanche activity, especially on steep wind loaded slopes.  We also heard that a skier triggered an avalanche near the town of Seward that failed on an icy hard surface. We do not know how widespread and likely it is to trigger an avalanche on this layer, but it is something we are going to continue to track.

Avalanche Details
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Avalanche Details

We saw widespread avalanche activity especially on wind loaded slopes, likely releasing during the storm over the weekend and on Monday. They were around D2 in size, about 1 to 2' deep on average and were 100 to 300' wide.

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

Cloudy skies in the morning that gradually cleared out to sunny skies with a few clouds. Temperatures felt like they were in the mid 20's maybe warmer at lower elevations. There was light wind on the ridges that was not transporting snow.

Snow surface

On our tour we saw every snow surface you could imagine. Soft settled powder in wind sheltered areas, soft to firm wind slab snow, sastrugi, and moist storm snow at lower elevations.


Hand shear tests did not produce concerning results (moderate). The new snow was breaking above a buried crust, likely the old snow surface. This crust will be the layer we track as another storm is forecast this weekend. Typically, crusts can develop weak layers above and below them as well as be an easy surface for overlying snow to slide on.

Photos & Video
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