Avalanche season: What you need to know

By  | 

ANCHORAGE (KTUU) - The Chugach National Forest Avalanche Information Center said that even though it’s early in the season, there is still a danger of avalanches.

“A lot of people are excited about the snow,” said Aleph Johnston-Bloom, an Avalanche Forecaster with the Chugach National Forest. “They go out and aren’t necessarily thinking about avalanches.”

Johnston-Bloom stresses that if there is enough snow to ride, there’s enough snow to slide.

The avalanche forecaster said that those in the backcountry are the most susceptible to avalanches.

However, during the shoulder of avalanche season, those on well-used summer trails on a day hike can be in danger.

“Some of those hiking trails have avalanche territory above them,” Johnston-Bloom said. “So especially right now, if it’s snowing or raining, you can actually get a wet avalanche or a loose avalanche where you’re hiking.”

Signs to look out for if you’re heading into possible areas that can be susceptible to sliding snow, are terrains that are steeper than 30 degrees. Other important things to observe is if snow seems to be cracking at your feet or beneath your snow machine.

“It’s mother nature screaming, it’s unstable today,” Johnston-Bloom said. “Be careful.”

The center said that those recreating in the mountains this winter should bring a few tools with them. An avalanche beacon, probe and shovel.

However, the center said that they want to prevent users from using their tools at all.

You can check weather updates, forecasts and reports on their website.

If you are in the Hatcher pass area, you can visit the Hatcher Pass Avalanche Center HREF="https://https://hpavalanche.org/">website..

If you do happen to find yourself in an avalanche, the United States Forest Service recommends using swimming motions and doing what you can to stay on top of the debris.