Low hazard does not mean no hazard. We expect there to be isolated locations and extreme terrain where human triggering a persistent slab may still be possible. These locations are becoming harder to find.
The most likely location to trigger a persistent slab, 2-8″ thick, will be on Westerly aspects, near ridgelines and cross-loaded features where the slab is sitting on a buried crust. This set up exists where sun crusts formed weeks ago on steep slopes and then were buried by slabs formed by the wind. Our observations this week show minimal propagation on these buried crusts.
To identity these areas, look for hard snow sitting over weaker snow, smooth and rounded or lens shaped features.
Pole tests, hand shears, and instability tests like the ECT will give you some information on the propagation potential for this problem.
Few people have been getting out in the backcountry this week, likely due to the variability of the snow. Conditions include patchy faceted surfaces to breakable and firm old wind slabs and sun crusts in many locations.
Winds gusted briefly SE 25 mph at 4500′ at 6am this morning. If winds continue today, expect thin wind slabs to begin to form on West to North aspects at upper elevation. These slabs will be small in size due to the minimal amount of snow available for transport on southerly aspects. This problem will become more of a concern on Friday with stronger winds in the forecast.
Cornices are large at upper elevation ridgelines. Give cornices a wide berth as they can break further back than anticipated.
HP has not received any precipitation since 2/28.
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.