While outdoor enthusiast are anxious to get on the back country slopes avalanche experts are warning them to be prepared as conditions are dangerous. Wendy Wagner with the Chugach National Forest Avalanche Information Center advises people to check conditions at their website before heading out.
A popular outdoor enthusiast area is Turnagain Pass. Despite minimal snow coverage skiers and snowboarders are hitting the back country slopes there already. The saying goes- if it’s deep enough to ride it’s deep enough to slide.
Wagner wants to encourage people to be prepared. Sunday she went out to survey the area and conditions around Turnagain Pass and said so far the weather hasn’t been creating very stable snow.
"It's strong and dense at the top and then underneath its really like rock salt," said Wagner, "its not even sticking."
Wagner recommends people in the Turnagaian Pass area stay on slopes at or lower than a 30 degree angle.
"With this early season we’ve already seen avalanches where we’ve never seen avalanches before," said Wagner, "Granted there’s not a lot of snow so these have been smaller avalanches but the fact is we do have weak snow on the ground and these steeper slopes are dangerous."
Wanger also wants to remind people to bring their avalanche safety items like beacons, a shovel and a probe.
The Chugach National Forest Avalanche Information Center will be fully operational November 17 with daily avalanche forecasts on their website. Until then staff members, like Wagner, will continue to survey popular mountains and watch weather systems.
Contact Mallory Peebles