Thursday-Sunday 4/19-4/22

Issued: Thu, Apr 19, 2018 at 8AM

Expires: Sun, Apr 22, 2018

Valdez Snowmachine Club Hill Climb, April 20-21 (22)

Above 2,500ft Low

1,800 to 2,500ft Low

Below 1,800ft Low

Degrees of Avalanche Danger ?

1. Low
2. Moderate
3. Considerable
4. High
5. Extreme

Avalanche Danger Rose ?

Avalanche Problems ?

Problem Details

Thursday Friday Saturday & Sunday


Wet Avalanches:
Elevation:   Below 4500′
Aspect:   SE – S – SW
Terrain:   Southerly facing terrain on slopes above 30 degree slope angle
Sensitivity:   Non-reactive when frozen – Responsive when warmed by above freezing temps and direct solar input
Distribution:   Specific
Likelihood (Human Triggered): Possible
Size:   Small – Large
Danger Trend:   Increasing with solar input and above freezing temperatures
Forecaster Confidence:    Good

Sensitivity: Non-reactive, Stubborn, Responsive, Touchy
Distribution: Isolated, Specific, Widespread
Likelihood: Unlikely, Possible, Likely, Nearly Certain
Size: Small, Large, Very Large (size scale <here>)
Danger Trend: Increasing, Steady, Decreasing
Forecaster Confidence: Good, Fair, Poor


SNOWPACK DISCUSSION: The advisory area is in the midst of a diurnal spring shed cycle.  Temperatures around Thompson Pass have been above freezing during the day, with the surface of the snowpack freezing over night.  This cycle can produce corn snow but is also the precursor to surface instability and an isothermic snowpack.

Snow surface conditions above ~3000′ are widely variable.  Conditions on northerly facing slopes range from: wind scoured pencil hard sastrugi, melt/freeze, to decomposing unconsolidated particles.  Southerly facing slopes are experiencing a range from: heavy wet snow, to melt freeze crusts, to corn, to isothermal.

Snow depths generally range from 30-300cm, including on glaciated terrain.

Check out our public observations.

Recent Avalanche Activity

The advisory area continues to experience natural wet avalanches up to 4500′.  This wet avalanche activity is primarily on southerly facing slopes and is triggered by above freezing temperatures and direct solar input.  Many have been initiated in rocky steep areas, taking surface snow.  Some have stepped down to deeper old layers, pulling out small slabs with them.

While the snow is frozen, the avalanche danger is low with natural and human triggered avalanches unlikely. As the day heats up and solar input increases, the snow warms and avalanche danger rises with human and natural triggered avalanches likely.

Video of Winds from 3/22/18


Recent Weather

WEATHER FORECAST for NEXT 24 HRS at 3,000 ft:
Temperature Forecast (Min/Max *F): 27 / 34
Ridgetop Wind Forecast (direction/mph): NE/7-14
Snowfall (in):  1-3”
PAST 24 hours
Ferry Terminal Thompson Pass
Average Wind Speed (mph) / Direction  4 / VAR   13 / ESE
Max Wind Gust (mph) / Direction  13 / ESE  31 / SE
Temperature Min / Max (*F)  35 / 45  25 / 31

Weather Forecast:      Mostly cloudy Thursday with minimal rain or snow through the weekend.  Temperatures above freezing during the day, freezing at night. Light winds.

Additional Info & Media

SNOW HISTORY: Valdez 4/19 AM Thompson Pass 4/19 AM
24 Hour Snow / Water Equiv. 0”/ 0.0″ 0″ / 0.0″
Storm Snow /Water Equiv. (3/15-19) 19” / 0.41″ 40″ / 1.5″
Current Snow Depth 12″ 63″
April Snow / Water Equiv. 0″ / 0.01″ 1″ / 0.1″
Total Winter Snowfall / Water Equiv. 132.59″ / 27.21” 373″ / 36.7″
Snowload in Valdez 30 lbs/sq. ft.


SNOW DEPTH & WATER SURVEY (3/4/2018) Depth Snow Water Equivalent
Milepost 2.5 Valdez  32.2″  9″
Milepost 18 42″ 11″
Milepost 29 Worthington Flats 62.4″ 21.2″
Milepost 37 Tsaina River bridge 58.4″ 14.2″
This survey is done the first week of each month.

Weather Quicklinks:



  • coastal-zone-iconMaritime (Coastal) – from the Port of Valdez to Thompson Pass, all waters flowing into Valdez Arm and everything south of Marshall Pass.
  • intermountain-zone-iconInter-mountain (Transitional) – between Thompson Pass and Rendezvous Lodge.
  • interior-zone-iconContinental (Interior) – the dry north side of the Chugach (north of 46 Mile, including the Tonsina River).

Photo of Thompson Pass


Interactive Map of Valdez Forecast Areas w/ Many Resource Layers (Trevor Grams)


Run Map of Thompson Pass Area (Sean Wisner) (2MB download)
VAC Run Map Thompson Pass

NEWS: Our region is “one of the snowiest places on earth” – Serendipity / Rendezvous snowfall record set in 1963 <here>.

Free smart phone avalanche forecasts at:

Posted in Continental Forecasts, Intermountain Forecasts, Maritime Forecasts.

Forecaster: Ryan Van Luit