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Wed, April 2nd, 2014 - 7:00AM
Thu, April 3rd, 2014 - 7:00AM
John Fitzgerald
Avalanche risk The Bottom Line

The avalanche danger is LOW today.   Avalanches are unlikely.   Exceptions to this will be in the form of cornice fall and low volume loose snow avalanches in very steep terrain.

Wed, April 2nd, 2014
Above 2,500'
1 - Low
Avalanche risk
1 - Low
Avalanche risk
Below Treeline
Below 1,000'
1 - Low
Avalanche risk
0 - No Rating
1 - Low
2 - Moderate
3 - Considerable
4 - High
5 - Extreme
Avalanche risk Avalanche risk Avalanche risk Avalanche risk Avalanche risk
Travel Advice Generally safe avalanche conditions. Watch for unstable snow on isolated terrain features. Heightened avalanche conditions on specific terrain features. Evaluate snow and terrain carefully; identify features of concern. Dangerous avalanche conditions. Dangerous avalanche conditions. Very dangerous avalanche conditions. Travel in avalanche terrain not recommended. Extraordinarily dangerous avalanche conditions. Avoid all avalanche terrain.
Likelihood of Avalanches Natural and human-triggered avalanches unlikely. Natural avalanches unlikely; human-triggered avalanches possible. Natural avalanches possible; human-triggered avalanches likely. Natural avalanches likely; human-triggered avalanches very likely. Natural and human-triggered avalanches certain.
Avalanche Size and Distribution Small avalanches in isolated areas or extreme terrain. Small avalanches in specific areas; or large avalanches in isolated areas. Small avalanches in many areas; or large avalanches in specific areas; or very large avalanches in isolated areas. Large avalanches in many areas; or very large avalanches in specific areas. Very large avalanches in many areas.
Avalanche Problem 1
  • Normal Caution
    Normal Caution
Normal Caution
Normal Caution means triggering an avalanche is unlikely but not impossible.
More info at Avalanche.org

Snow is in a constant state of change.  The rate of change is what matters most when considering avalanche potential.  When snow is forced to change rapidly, it responds by fracturing.  When weak layers have time, in our case over two weeks, to adjust to change (loading), avalanche activity tends to be minimal or non existent.  

The changes that have been occurring and could have an impact on snowmachiners, skiers and snowboarders today are:

These sometimes giant masses of snow sit precariously above many slopes.  Cornices are slowly bowing to the forces of gravity.  Knowing exactly when they will succumb to these forces and release is difficult to predict.  As such, it is important to avoid being on or under them.  This is important when assessing terrain from the bottom as well as from above.cornice

Faceting-Loose snow avalanches
The surface snow on mainly shaded aspects has been slowly “rotting” away.  This has been gradually improving riding conditions in certain areas.  It is also creating the potential for very low volume sluffing in very steep terrain.  This issue is minor for now.  Remember to be on the lookout for loose snow moving, especially if you are in steep and exposed terrain.  The volume is generally too low to be an issue for snowmachines but could have an effect on skiers and snowboarders.

Both of these issues are relatively straightforward and can be managed by practicing good travel habits.  Expose only one person at a time, use islands of safety when stopping in steep terrain, avoid cornices, and communicate plans within your group effectively.

“Heads Up” conditions in steep terrain
There are plenty of steep slopes with firm surfaces that require a healthy amount of careful and focused travel.  A fall in steep terrain could result in loss of control of a snowmachine or be difficult for skiers or snowboarders to arrest.  Pay attention to the snow surface and learn how to anticipate surface conditions by the look and texture of the snow before you are on it.

Wed, April 2nd, 2014

Déjà vu, (/ËŒdeɪʒɑː ˈvuː/) from French, literally “already seen”, is the phenomenon of having the strong sensation that an event or experience currently being experienced has been experienced in the past, whether it has actually happened or not.

Yesterday was a carbon copy (more or less) of the previous 15 days.   Clear skies, calm wind, and moderate temperatures prevailed.   Temperatures at the Sunburst station (3,812′) averaged 22 degrees F with East winds averaging 5 mph (max gust of 15 mph).

Today expect the same conditions as yesterday.   Clear skies, calm wind and temps at 1,000′ reaching into the mid to high 30s F.

The stubborn High pressure that has brought us pleasant weather is slowly breaking down.   A series of Lows out over the Aleutians will begin to eat away at the blocking ridge.   Look for clouds to be on the increase and a chance for snow and rain as we head into the weekend.

Recent Observations for Turnagain Pass
Date Region Location
11/16/23 Turnagain Observation: Tincan Common
11/14/23 Turnagain Observation: Sunburst/Magnum
11/14/23 Turnagain Observation: Seattle Ridge
11/13/23 Turnagain Avalanche: Tincan Trees
11/12/23 Turnagain Observation: Sunburst
11/12/23 Turnagain Avalanche: Goldpan – avalanche
11/11/23 Turnagain Observation: Tincan Common
11/11/23 Turnagain Observation: Taylor Pass – Sunburst
11/10/23 Turnagain Observation: Tincan
11/10/23 Turnagain Observation: Tincan Trees
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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.