Observation: Chugach State Park

Location: Noth Bowl Ship Creek Drainage

Route & General Observations

My partner and 60+ others overwhelmed the South Fork parking lot and skied throughout the area on all aspects and elevations. The Eastern aspects above the parking lot and the Northern aspect of North Bowl were the primary ski locations. Excellent early season conditions were enjoyed!

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?No
Collapsing (Whumphing)?Yes
Cracking (Shooting cracks)?No
Observer Comments

Descending from Hunter Pass toward the West, at approximately 2800', we were surprised to get collapsing when skiing off the set track.

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

Excellent snow quality with 50+ cm of settling new snow. There is a layer of surface hoar developing on top of this that no doubt will continue with our clear, cold, calm weather. Below the new/settling snow, a ice crust sandwich was found as the source of collapse: 3 cm of facets on top of 1 cm of melt freeze crust with 3 cm of facets below. All of this is resting on a stable moist stack of melt/freeze grains. Total height of snow was about 1 meter.
Hand shears failed in the facets above the sandwich crust using moderate force and an estimated quality 2. The slab section did hold together (had adequate cohesion) to conduct the test. I hadn't expected this in this non-wind effected spot (low, west aspect). Nevertheless, the slab section did not have enough cohesion to show shooting cracks, showing a fortunate lack of propagation potential for the current snow conditions.
We weren't able to find the sandwich set up on the Eastern aspect above the South Fork parking lot.