Avalanche forecast warns of considerable danger in Southcentral Alaska heading into the holiday weekend

Published: Dec. 21, 2021 at 8:46 PM AKST
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ANCHORAGE, Alaska (KTUU) - With the holiday weekend approaching, many in Southcentral Alaska will be heading outside to ski or snowmachine over the Christmas weekend. The Chugach National Forest Avalanche Information Center said more people in the mountains, means more triggers for avalanches.

“Right now, our avalanche conditions are right around moderate or considerable,” said Wendy Wagner, director of the Chugach National Forest Information Center. “Which means the mountains aren’t avalanching on their own, but a person could still trigger an avalanche and we do still have some instability in our snowpack.”

Heading into the weekend, Wagner said they expect wind in the Turnagain Pass Area, and a little bit of snow. The Chugach avalanche team forecasted moderate to considerable avalanche dangers on Tuesday above 1,000 feet, and all riding areas in the Glacier and Seward Districts were open.

“We have this sort of cold north wind that’s coming over the area,” Wagner said. “And those winds, if they really ramp up enough like they might on Thursday, (it) could cause instability in the snowpack.”

Up north, the Hatcher Pass Avalanche Center forecasted considerable danger at all elevations and warned human-triggered avalanches were likely on Tuesday.

“Dangerous avalanche conditions, careful snowpack evaluation, cautious route-finding and conservative decision-making essential,” wrote HPAC forecaster Jed Workman.

The report went on to explain the area has received lots of new snow from a storm system along with the wind. Over the weekend a skier was partially buried in a slab avalanche on Marmot in Hatcher Pass but was not injured.

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