Forecast Expired - 01/05/2023

Above 4,000ftModerate

2,000 to 4,000ftModerate

Below 2,000ftModerate

Degrees of Avalanche Danger

Avalanche Problems

Problem 1

Wind Slab:

The New Years storm delivered 1-2 feet of new snow from Thompson Pass to 46 mile.  South of Thompson Pass low lying areas received heavy rain up to ~2000′.  Prior to this storm our area had been receiving a prolonged period of light snowfall and benign weather which allowed our snowpack to slowly build without adding much stress.  This period of gradual loading also allowed for the new snow to bond with older wind damaged surfaces.  The new load of snow that we just received has shown signs of increasing stability on 1/2 and 1/3.  There is not a suspected faceted layer at the new/old interface, which will allow this storm slab to settle in what would be a reasonable amount of time (24-48) hours.  One of the concerns at this point is triggering a storm slab in steep convex or unsupported terrain.  The other concern, and the one that may be more likely to encounter will be areas where northeast winds have redistributed the new snow into wind slabs 1-2 feet in depth.


Winds have not been strong or widespread, but even a moderate amount of wind will be enough to move the new dry snow at the surface.  Expect to find windslabs on lee side of high elevation ridges in some locations as well as cross loaded gullies in wind channeled terrain.  Watch for visual signs of wind slab such as pillowed snow surfaces and freshly formed cornices.  Pay attention to signs of instability such as shooting cracks or collapsing that would indicate a slope has the energy to produce an avalanche.


Light snow is expected today.  This will add to the depth of storm slabs and the overall snow available for transport.




  • Almost Certain
  • Very Likely
  • Likely
  • Possible
  • Unlikely


  • Historic
  • Very Large
  • Large
  • Small


  • Increasing
  • Steady
  • Decreasing

Problem 2

Persistent Slab:

Faceted snow near the base of the snowpack has been identified in all three forecast zones. In most locations above brush line, faceted snow is capped by pencil-knife hard wind affected snow.  This has created a strong bridging affect above 3000′,  making a person or machines weight unlikely to directly affect these layers.  Below brush line where a more protected snowpack is in place, significant facets exist in the bottom half of the snowpack.

Our area just received 1-2 feet of snow with no natural avalanches noted.

Persistent weak layers are tricky to assess and are notorious for surprising people.  It is possible that facets will reactivate in the future when stress is being applied through dramatic changes in weather such as: significant snow accumulation or rapid warming.  Maintaining safe travel protocols such as skiing one at a time and avoiding traveling in or above terrain traps will increase your safety margin.  

 The most likely areas to trigger a persistent slab avalanche would be in steep terrain that was protected from previous strong winds that have occurred this season. This could be below brushline in steep open places, or in areas of terrain that are typically spared from outflows.  The Continental zone remains suspect as this area has a weaker snowpack and generally receives less wind, which would decrease the bridging affect mentioned above.

Faceted snow near the ground from Crudbusters (continental zone) below brush line.



  • Almost Certain
  • Very Likely
  • Likely
  • Possible
  • Unlikely


  • Historic
  • Very Large
  • Large
  • Small


  • Increasing
  • Steady
  • Decreasing

Avalanche Activity

Below is a summary of observed Avalanche activity from the last 7 days.  Avalanches that were noted earlier in the season can be viewed by clicking the link below.

If you trigger or observe a natural avalanche consider leaving a  public observation.

Valdez Avalanche Activity

No recent avalanche activity has been recorded in the last 7 days.  


Check out our updated weather tab!  A collection of local weather stations are available for viewing with graphs and tabular data included.

NWS Watches and warnings

NWS Point forecast for Thompson Pass
Snow showers. High near 23. East wind 10 to 15 mph decreasing to 5 to 10 mph in the afternoon. Chance of precipitation is 90%. Total daytime snow accumulation of 1 to 3 inches possible.
Snow showers. Low around 17. East wind 5 to 10 mph becoming south after midnight. Chance of precipitation is 80%. New snow accumulation of 1 to 3 inches possible.
Scattered snow showers before noon. Mostly cloudy, then gradually becoming sunny, with a high near 25. Southeast wind around 5 mph becoming north in the afternoon. Chance of precipitation is 50%.
Thursday Night
Mostly cloudy, with a low around 8. North wind around 5 mph.
Mostly sunny, with a high near 15. Northeast wind around 5 mph.
Friday Night
Isolated snow showers before 9pm, then a chance of snow after midnight. Mostly cloudy, with a low around 8. Northeast wind around 5 mph. Chance of precipitation is 30%.
Detailed forecast for Thompson Pass Mid elevation (2000-4000 Feet)
Date               Wednesday 01/04/23      Thursday 01/05/23       
Time (LT)          06    12    18    00    06    12    18    00    06
Cloud Cover        OV    OV    OV    OV    OV    FW    SC    BK    SC
Cloud Cover (%)    90    90    90    90    75    20    40    70    40
Temperature        19    21    22    20    22    21    16    12    11
Max/Min Temp                   22          18          25           9
Wind Dir            E     E    SE    SE     E    NE    NE    NE    NE
Wind (mph)         14     6     6     9     6     5    12    12     5
Wind Gust (mph)    29                                                
Precip Prob (%)    80    80    80    80    50    10     0     0     0
Precip Type         S     S     S     S     S                        
12 Hour QPF                  0.21        0.17        0.03        0.00
12 Hour Snow                  3.1         2.5         0.0         0.0
Snow Level (kft)  0.5   0.5   0.2   0.0   0.0   0.0   0.0   0.0   0.0
Click on link below for Thompson Pass weather history graph:






24 hr snow HN24W* High temp Low temp 72 hour SWE* January snowfall Seasonal snowfall Snowpack Depth
Valdez 0 0 37 25 .89 0 96 33
Thompson pass  1 .03 27 15 1.12 25 219 40
46 mile 0 0 18 8 1.1 20 ~56** 42



*HN24W- 24 hour Snow water equivalent in inches

*SWESnow water equivalent

**46 mile seasonal snowfall total begins December 1st.

Additional Information


Click on the link below for a running summary of the seasons weather history.

Valdez Weather History


The avalanche hazard is Moderate.  Human triggered avalanches 1-2 feet deep will be possible today in area where recent north wind has formed fresh wind slabs.  Watch for signs of windslab such as hard snow over soft and shooting cracks.  Natural avalanches are unlikely.  

Posted by Gareth Brown 01/04  8:00 am.


For a description of current avalanche problems, weather information, season history and more click the (+ full forecast) button.  Avalanche forecasts will be issued Wednesday-Sunday.