Hatcher Pass Avalanche Center

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ARCHIVED - Forecasts expire after 24 hours.
Sat, January 21st, 2023 - 7:00AM
Sun, January 22nd, 2023 - 7:00AM
Jed Workman
Avalanche risk The Bottom Line

We received 3″ of new snow early in the morning of 1/20 and about 1+” overnight at 3000′.

This has slightly improved riding conditions in this long-term precipitation drought.

Not much has changed. The avalanche hazard remains LOW for the 7th forecast in a row.

We need your help making it snow: Here’s how

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JOIN US TODAY! for the Square Pow IPA release party at the Wasilla Location Bearpaw River Brewing Company, 240 East Railroad Ave.

Come on down anytime between 11AM and 8PM, stock up on the new IPA, eat some pizza, meet the HPAC forecasting team and board members, and get your 2023 HPAC raffle tickets.
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Sat, January 21st, 2023
Upper Elevation
Above 3,500'
1 - Low
Avalanche risk
Mid Elevation
1 - Low
Avalanche risk
Low Elevation
Below 2,500'
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. Careful snowpack evaluation, cautious route-finding, and conservative decision-making essential. 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.
Recent Avalanches

The last recorded slab avalanche was on December 23. That’s approaching a month of silence on the avalanche front, 29 days ago.

Some isolated small loose dry avalanches occurred on 1/20 with new snow sliding naturally on very firm old snow surfaces on slopes 40º and steeper.

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

We have been stuck in a benign and boring weather pattern for almost a month.

On 1/20 we received 3″ of new snow at 3000′. Overnight we received an additional 1-2″ of new snow in 0.1″ water. It’s still snowing lightly and we are expecting another possible inch today.

Overnight ENE winds picked up at 4500′ briefly gusting 33 mph. This was a short-lived wind event.

We received good news from the inchworm that another inch is on deck for Sunday.

On Friday we observed some isolated small loose dry natural avalanches. This involved the few inches of new snow sitting on older firm snow surfaces on steep slopes.  We expect a few more to have naturally occurred during the brief snowstorm overnight and triggering this kind of inconsequential avalanche will be possible today in specific areas on steep slopes where firm surfaces lie underneath the new snow.

Riding conditions have improved very slowly and marginally.  Sastrugi, raised tracks, and other wind-sculpted firm shapes are a widespread hazard, hiding just under this shallow blanket of new snow.

Overall, the avalanche hazard remains low, with weak layers of concern remaining unreactive.

Someone is very excited about this tiny bit of new snow.

Sat, January 21st, 2023

3″ of new snow accumulated at 3000′ on 1/20. Overnight we received about 1-2″ of new snow in 0.1″ water.

At 4500′ ENE winds picked up briefly overnight gusting 33 mph.

Avalanche Weather Guidance National Weather Service Anchorage AK 401 AM AKST Sat Jan 21 2023 .

DISCUSSION… Snow showers will gradually taper off this morning as upper level ridging moves into the area. Outflow winds this morning will linger into this afternoon before decreasing tonight. Northerly offshore flow will result in cooler temperatures and falling snow levels today. The flow will shift to south to southeasterly on Sunday after a brief ridge axis moves through the area. This will allow for snow levels to gradually rise to around 300 feet Sunday evening and continue to climb to around 1000 to 1500 feet Monday night. Uncertainty for Monday continues for the timing, and how much warm air will filter through Southcentral. That being said, the next round of precipitation will be Sunday afternoon through Sunday night with the highest snowfall amounts along the windward side of the Kenai and Chugach Mountains, especially along Prince William Sound. Winds will also increase on Sunday with generally 30 to 40 kt winds expected through Turnagain Pass with higher peaks and ridge tops to around 50 kts.

NWS AVG Forecast here.

NWS point forecast here.

Marmot Weather Station here.

Independence Mine Snotel here.

State Parks Snow Report and Motorized Access information here.

XC trail grooming report for Mat-Su, Anchorage, and Kenai here.

Recent Observations for Hatcher Pass