|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.|
On Feb 6th small human-triggered wind slabs were reported on Microdot. These wind slabs have likely gained strength and bonded with the underlying snow.
|Signal Word||Size (D scale)||Simple Descriptor|
|Small||1||Unlikely to bury a person|
|Large||2||Can bury a person|
|Very Large||3||Can destroy a house|
|Historic||4 & 5||Can destroy part or all of a village|
Currently, there is 8-10 inches of low-density snow at the surface of the snowpack. This low-density snow was formed by several small storms over the last 8 days and will be capable of producing dry loose avalanches.
Human-triggered dry loose avalanches are possible. These avalanches will be small to large in size and found on slopes 40 degrees and steeper. Natural avalanches are unlikely.
Layers that were formed by the wind on Feb 5- 6th have likely bonded well with the snow underneath, in some isolated areas this layer may still be reactive. This layer may act as a bed surface for dry loose avalanches.
The snowpack has a variety of crusts and old wind slabs underneath 8-10 inches of low-density snow. These layers are currently not a problem and will need a major loading event to reactivate them. See photo below for a better idea of the snowpack structure.
Any size dry loose avalanche can have severe consequences if you are swept off your feet and carried through cliffs, rocks, and other hazards. If you do decide to travel in steep terrain good sluff management will be important. Dry loose avalanches will be able to entrain surrounding snow and travel quickly.
NWS is calling for temperatures in the single digits allowing for the snow surfaces to facet and gain no cohesion.
The riding quality has improved with all the small storms over the week. Today should be a fun but cold day to be in the mountains.
Snow totals from 2/1-2/9
2/1: 2 inches of new snow
2/3: 4 inches of new snow at independence mine
2/5: 2-3 inches of new snow, 0.2″ of SWE
2/6: 4 inches of new snow, 0.4″ of SWE
2/7-8: 2 inches of new snow, 0.2″ of SWE
NWS AVG Forecast here.
NWS point forecast here.
Marmot Weather Station here.
Independence Mine Snotel here.
Frostbite Bottom Snotel here.
State Parks Snow Report and Motorized Access information here.
XC trail grooming report for Mat-Su, Anchorage, and Kenai here.