Avalanche Accidents and Near Misses in Alaska
The main focus of this section is education. Much can be learned from past accidents and close calls. All of these stories are worth reading as they happened in places we ride and ski. They are Alaska based and assembled by CNFAIC forecasters, the avalanche.org database, the “Snowy Torrents” volumes, and local newspaper articles.
For a database on all accidents in the US visit avalanche.org’s accident’s page.
March 9th, 2019 – Crescent Lake (Madson Mountain) Avalanche Accident
Two skiers caught, one buried and killed.
May 2nd, 2018 – Blackstone Glacier Avalanche Accident
Three snowmachiners caught. One rider came to rest on surface, one partially buried and one fully buried and killed.
February 25th, 2018 – Dude Mountain Avalanche Accident
Two snowboarders caught in avalanche. One escaped unharmed and one fully buried and killed.
February 3rd, 2018 – Twin Peaks Near Miss
Two skiers triggered large avalanche on ascent. Once caught and self arrested.
December 20, 2017 – Pastoral Peak Near Miss
Two skiers triggered large deep slab avalanche from below, narrowly missed being caught
November 22, 2017 – Hatcher Pass Avalanche Accident
One skier caught, carried, fully buried and killed.
February 11,2017 – Raven Headwall Near Miss
One skier caught, carried and stopped on top of debris uninjured on last day of Eklutna traverse.
February 3rd, 2017 – Seattle Ridge Headwall Near Miss
One snowmachiner caught, carried and fully buried. Rescued uninjured.
February 3rd, 2017 – Lynx Creek Near Miss
Snowmachine triggered large avalanche, no one caught
January 28th, 2017 – V Max Avalanche Accident
Two snowmachiners caught and carried, one fully buried and uninjured, one fully buried and killed.
December 29th, 2016 – Near Miss on Lipps Ridge, Turnagain Pass, AK
Three skiers caught, carried and all unharmed.
April 11th, 2016 – Gulkana Glacier Avalanche Accident, Paxson, AK
One snowmachiner caught, fully buried and killed
April 3rd, 2016 – Hoodoo Mountains Avalanche Accident, Paxson, AK
Two snowmachiners caught, one partially buried and injured, one fully buried and killed (PDF report found HERE)
February 27th, 2016 – Nelchina Avalanche Accident, Eureka, AK
Three snowmachiners caught, one buried and killed
January 16, 2016 – Skyscraper Avalanche Accident, Hatcher Pass, AK
One snowboarder caught, buried and killed
January 2, 2016 – Grubstake Gulch Avalanche Accident, Hatcher Pass, AK
One snowmachiner caught, buried and killed
November 22, 2015 – Hatcher Pass, AK
One solo skier missing, authorities believe skier to buried by an avalanche
April 1, 2015 – Magnum – Near Miss Avalanche Incident
One skier caught, carried 900′, but not buried and no injuries
March 14th, 2015 – Squaw Creek Avalanche Accident, near Cantwell, Alaska
One snowmachiner caught, fully buried, recovered and flown to an Anchorage area hospital with serious injuries, later succumbed to injuries on 18 March 2015.
December 18th, 2014 – Sunburst
One skier caught, carried, fully buried, recovered with no injuries
December 6th, 2014 – Rainbow Ridge
Two skiers caught, one injured, one killed
January 3rd, 2014
One dog fatality and near miss on Tincan Mountain (CFR Ridge), Turnagain Pass, AK
April 14, 2013
3 skiers caught and carried, two separate parties, all ok. Surprise Bowl, Girdwood, AK.
June 13, 2012
5 climbers caught and carried, 4 killed. Denali, West Buttress.
March 16, 2012
Skier triggered avalanche on Eddies, Turnagain Pass. Significant injuries and rescue.
March 13, 2012
2 heli-skiers buried and killed. Haines, Chilkat Mountains.
March 11, 2012
Snowmobiler buried, revived with CPR. Kennecott, Wrangell Mountains.
Feb 11, 2012
Human triggered avalanche on Pete’s North, Turnagain Pass. One buried, no fatalities.
Apr 18, 2011
Human triggered avalanche on Bird Ridge. One fatality.
Mar 19, 2011
Skier triggered avalanche on Hatch Peak, near Hatcher Pass. One fatality.
Jan 29, 2011
Skier triggered avalanche on Butch Mountain, near Summit Lake. One full burial, 2 partial.
Feb 13, 2010
Snowmachine triggered avalanche near Grandview, mile 45 AKRR. Two fatalities.
Mar 28, 2009
Snowmachine triggered avalanche on Center Creek, Turnagain Pass area. One fatality.
Dec 13, 2008
Skier triggered avalanche on Cornbiscuit Mtn, Turnagain Pass. One buried, no fatalites.
Feb 23, 2008
Skier triggered avalanche on Sunburst Mtn, Turnagain Pass. One buried, no fatalities.
Feb 15, 2008
Snowmachine triggered avalanche on Stock Bowl, Turnagain Pass. 3 buried, 2 fatalites.
Dec 29, 2007
Skier triggered avalanche on Silvertip, Turnagain Pass south. One injured, no fatalites.
Mar 17, 2007
Skier triggered avalanche on Pastoral Peak, Turnagain Pass. One buried, no fatalites.
Jan 3, 2006
Skier triggered avalanche on Raggedtop Mtn, Girdwood. One buried and killed.
Feb 28, 2004
Climber triggered cornice break avalanche on Byron Peak, Portage. One killed.
Dec 23, 2001
Snowmachine triggered avalanche at Palmer Creek Rd, Hope. One buried and killed.
Jan 1, 2001
Skier triggered avalanche at Turnagain Pass. One buried, no fatalites.
Feb 2, 2000
Seward Highway at Bird Flats, Turnagain Arm. Bulldozer operator killed.
Mar 21, 1999
Snowmachine triggered avalanche at Turnagain Pass. Ten caught, Six buried and killed.
Nov 24, 1997
Hiker triggered avalanche at Crow Pass, Girdwood. One buried and killed.
Jan 17, 1997
Hunter triggered avalanche near Swan Lake, Ressurection Pass. One buried and killed.
Dec 6, 1988
Skier triggered avalanche near Tincan Mtn, Turnagain Pass. One buried and killed.
Jan 21, 1978
Skier triggered avalanche near Taylor Pass, Turnagain Pass. Four buried and killed.
May 10, 1975
Natural wet avalanche on 20 Mile River, Portage. Four hunters caught, one buried and killed.
May 9, 1952
Seward Highway, Bird Hill. One traveler buried and killed.
April 28, 1920
Alaska Railroad mile 76, Turnagain Arm. Ten rail workers caught, three buried and killed.