Alaska averages about 4 avalanche deaths per year, but the Turnagin Pass area hasn't had one in several years, and officials want to keep it that way.
"There's a scale from 1 to 5, and right now we're right in the middle of that scale, and that's called a considerable danger,” said Avalanche Forecaster Wendy Wagner.
The Chugach National Forest Avalanche Information Center issues daily advisories on avalanche conditions.
Wagner says the lack of snowfall this year actually makes us more susceptible to slides, because the older snow hasn’t been on the ground long enough to form a solid foundation.
Officials at Alyeska Resort are taking all the necessary precautions to make sure skiers are safe on the slopes.
"We employ a professional snow safety crew that goes out and makes avalanche control doing ski cuts and charges to relieve stress in the snow pack," said Mountain Services Manager Brian Burnett.
Burnett is expecting a lot of skiers to enjoy the trails this week as an estimated 2 feet of snow is expected to accumulate in the area.
It’s the unseen dangers, especially the ones lurking off the beaten path, which have safety officials worried. Backcountry skiers, snowboarders and snow machine riders are urged to use extra caution.
"If you end up walking yourself or riding yourself under an avalanche path, you could have a problem if a natural avalanche came down,” said Wagner. “Wrong place at the wrong time."
Shovels, beacons and probes are a must, and never travel alone in the wilderness.
"If a person is caught and buried in an avalanche, their only chance of surviving is if their partner digs them out," adds Wagner.
Contact Adam Pinsker