Turnagain Area Avalanche Advisory
Sunday, February 24th 2013 6:45 am by Wendy Wagner
ARCHIVED ADVISORY - All advisories expire after 24 hours from the posting date/time.
Previous ForecastNext Forecast
The Bottom Line

We have a MODERATE avalanche danger today both above and below treeline around the Eastern Turnagain Arm.  Wind slab and loose snow avalanches will be possible to trigger on slopes steeper than 35 degrees.  The most likely places to get caught up in an avalanche are where winds are visibly drifting snow onto slopes. Areas below treeline that have seen less than 6 inches of new snow in the past 24-hours will have a LOW danger.

 Show the Complete North American Avalanche Danger Scale
2 Moderate Alpine / Above 2,500' Travel Advice: Heightened avalanche conditions on specific terrain features. Evaluate snow and terrain carefully; identify features of concern.
2 Moderate Treeline / 1,000'-2,500' Travel Advice: Heightened avalanche conditions on specific terrain features. Evaluate snow and terrain carefully; identify features of concern.
2 Moderate Below Treeline / Below 1,000' Travel Advice: Heightened avalanche conditions on specific terrain features. Evaluate snow and terrain carefully; identify features of concern.
Special Announcement

The Chugach National Forest is looking for your comments in the Forest Plan Revision Process.  Public meetings are being held this week and next in Seward, Soldotna, Anchorage, Cooper Landing, Moose Pass Cordova and Valdez.  Forest Managers and decision makers are anxious to hear input from the people who live, recreate and make a livlihood on the Chugach National Forest.  For more information and meeting dates click here.

Avalanche Problem 1

Today's main player in the avalanche game will be the wind. Yesterday's new snow came in with strong east wind and though the wind died down overnight, it is forecast to pick back up today. Both lingering slabs formed yesterday, as well as fresh slabs today, will be the thing to watch out for. With the addition of a few inches of snow today, expect these slabs to be in the 8-16" range. Keeping an eye out for active wind loading and cracking in the snow around you will be your best clue to finding and avoiding a wind slab.

Additional Concerns:

Loose snow avalanches:  In areas without wind effect, kicking off sluffs on the steeper slopes should be expected. These are not likely to be large due to the modest amounts of new snow.

We received a bit of a refresher yesterday. 4-8” of new snow not only covered the upper elevations but made its way down to sea level as well. Below treeline riding conditions are drastically improving from a week ago and now harbor a few wind slab and loose snow avalanche concerns as well.

Avalanche Problem 2

The outlier. There are two layers buried below the surface that are worth mentioning: (1) facets above the late January crusts 3-6’ deep and (2) weak early season snow near the ground. Triggering one of these layers is most pronounced in areas with a shallow snowpack (i.e., the interior Kenai Mountains as well as thin slopes in the Turnagain/Girdwood zones). Keeping with safe travel practices and steering clear of thin areas are your best bet for avoiding one of these outliers.

Mountain Weather

Yesterday’s modest storm brought snow to sea level and varying amounts to the region. The north side of Turnagain Pass through Girdwood picked up roughly 4-8” while the east side of the Pass was about half that. Summit Lake looks to have seen 2-3”. Winds associated were easterly averaging 20-30mph with gusts to the 50’s. Temperature was in the mid-teens at ridgetops and around 30F at sea level.

A brief break between systems overnight will be short lived as a weak front will bring a few more inches of snow and moderate east wind this afternoon. Temperatures are expected to remain in the mid-teens on ridgetops and near 30F at sea level

Lately, several of the low pressure systems that have been passing by have been far enough to the south to keep the warm air at bay and snow at sea level. This trend is expected to continue for several more days - good news for the lower elevations.


Fitz will issue the next advisory tomorrow morning, February 25th.


This is a general backcountry avalanche advisory issued for Turnagain Arm with Turnagain Pass as the core advisory area (this advisory does not apply to highways, railroads, or operating ski areas).

Winter snowmachine use open/closed status and riding conditions updates

Riding status is not associated with avalanche danger. An area will be open to motorized use in accordance to the Forest Management Plan when snow coverage is adequate to protect underlying vegetation. Backcountry hazards including avalanche hazard are always present regardless of the open status of motorized use areas.

(Updated: Mar 22, 2019 )

Glacier District
Johnson Pass: Open
Placer River: ClosedClosed as of 3.20.19 due to lack of snow.
Skookum Drainage: ClosedPlacer access closed as of 3.20.19 due to lack of snow.
Turnagain Pass: Open
Twentymile: ClosedClosed as of 3.20.19 due to lack of snow.
Seward District
Carter Lake: Open
Lost Lake Trail: ClosedClosed as of 3/22. Unfortunately HEAVY rain over the past week has washed much of the snow off the lower stretches of this trail.
Primrose Trail: OpenPlease stay on trail to avoid resource damage through forested areas.
Resurrection Pass Trail: ClosedClosed for the 2018/19 season. Next season will be open to motorized use.
Snug Harbor: Open
South Fork Snow River Corridor: ClosedClosed as of 3.20.19 due to lack of snow.
Summit Lake: Open

Subscribe to the Turnagain Area Avalanche Advisory:

The information in this advisory is from the U.S. Forest Service, which is solely responsible for its content. This advisory describes general avalanche conditions and local variations always occur. This advisory provided by the Chugach National Forest, in partnership with Friends of the Chugach National Forest Avalanche Information Center.

If you have comments or questions regarding CNFAIC operations or winter recreation management, please email
© 2019 Chugach National Forest Avalanche Information Center. All rights reserved.