Observation: Chugach State Park

Location: South Fork of Eagle River

Route & General Observations

Toured on the east side of the South Fork of Eagle River. Our primary goal was to ground the truth of the outflow wind event (winds predominately coming from the north and northwest) in the forecast for today. The landscape was severely wind-scoured, with bare ground in many places and up to 10′ of snow in gullies.

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

Broken skies with strong winds from the north/northwest at the ridge and at higher elevations. No precipitation.

Snow surface

If you can tuck into wind-sheltered terrain the skiing conditions were not bad for normal Front Range mid-winter conditions. The snow surface at spots protected from the wind was ~2-6" of light low-density snow on a supportable crust. Along the ridge were hard wind slabs, soft tender fresh wind slabs, or the wind had stripped the ridge to bare ground.


Overall, we were looking at a wind-affected landscape. Lots of patches of bare ground, predominately wind-loaded snow surfaces, with sections of "dust on crust" in places protected from the wind. The outflow wind event brought winds from the north/northwest and typically, the predominate winds in the Front Range come from the southeast. Strong winds with light snow (the ~7"-9" of snow that came in on Saturday) can create wind slabs in more unusual spots from cross-loading and loading mid-slope.

Photos & Video
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