Turnagain Pass Avalanche: Backcountry Skiier Survives Full Burial

ameliatraynor | | AvalancheAvalanche

According to the Chugach National Forest Avalanche Information Center, an avalanche in Turnagain Pass, Alaska fully buried a backcountry skiier on Thursday afternoon. This skiier-triggered avalanche was 350 feet wide, and ran an estimated 1,000 feet downhill.

In an incredible turn of events, the skiier was able to dig his head out of the snow and walk away unharmed.

Yesterday a skier triggered an avalanche on the Southwest face of Sunburst.  The skier was caught, carried and fully buried.  Fortunately the skier and his partner were able to dig him out and walk away without injury.  Similar avalanches are possible today as a layer of buried surface hoar sitting under 2-3’ deep slabs holds the potential to propagate across large areas. – CNFAIC


Thursday was the first clear day after a four day storm that brought in 30 inches of fresh snow to Turnagain Pass.  CNFAIC says avalanche risk is CONSIDERABLE today in the alpine, and advises avoidance of terrain over 35 degrees, and trigger points such as steep rollovers and areas with thin snow coverage.

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Today’s Turnagain Avalanche Advisory Report (http://www.cnfaic.org/)

Check out a full report of the incident from CNFAIC.

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One thought on “Turnagain Pass Avalanche: Backcountry Skiier Survives Full Burial

  1. first tracks did not trigger the slide. guy was skiing pretty straight, probably low torque turns. second guy made a bunch of little choppy turns and triggered it. my take: turn technique is a factor in triggering or not.

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