As winter sets in across Alaska, the avalanche season has already begun. The Chugach National Forest Avalanche Information Center (CNFAIC) is back in action, working to produce timely and accurate avalanche advisories for the Chugach National Forest region. We already have reports of skier triggered and natural avalanche activity in the backcountry of Turnagain Pass and Summit Lake.
The Chugach National Forest Avalanche Information Center is a collaborative effort between the US Forest Service and non-profit Friends of the Chugach National Forest Avalanche Information Center. It is the only government agency in the state of Alaska that produces backcountry recreational avalanche advisories, warnings, and public education. The forecasting team of Kevin Wright, Wendy Wagner, Graham Predeger, and Alex Mclain work throughout the winter to produce the highest quality avalanche information for the public. CNFAIC’s mission is to increase avalanche awareness for winter recreationists in Turnagain and Summit Lake through advisories and public education.
Highly skilled and trained professionals, as well as lifelong backcountry enthusiasts, during the winter months CNFAIC staff head into the field almost daily to bring you the up-to-date information. Intermittent advisories will be produced for the next two weeks. A daily advisory schedule will begin on November 17. Check the website at www.cnfaic.org or dial the hotline at 907-754-2369 for the latest avalanche forecast. You can also follow us on Facebook or Twitter.
The avalanche center offers free avalanche awareness education to the public. A full schedule of local avalanche education opportunities can be found on the calendar page of our website. Our free Fireside Chat lecture series begins this Thursday, November 8 at the Girdwood Ranger Station at 7 p.m. The first lecture is Introduction to Avalanche Awareness. The presentations are a great introduction for backcountry beginners and a review for seasoned winter enthusiasts.
November is Avalanche Awareness Month in the state of Alaska. We encourage everyone to tune up their avalanche skills and get into a routine of checking the avalanche forecast before heading into the mountains. When planning your winter trip into the backcountry, don't forget these safety items: shovel, beacon, probe, and KNOWLEDGE.
There is a very thin and weak early season snow cover. The snow that fell in mid-October sat under clear skies for two weeks and has turned to facets (sugar snow) with some impressive surface hoar (1-20cm) growing on top. When this 3-20" of weak snow becomes overloaded with additional snow we could see widespread avalanche activity and a rapid rise in danger.