Forecast Expired - 02/02/2023

Above 4,000ftModerate

2,000 to 4,000ftModerate

Below 2,000ftLow

Degrees of Avalanche Danger

Avalanche Problems

Problem 1

Persistent Slab:

The 1/14 buried surface hoar layer that was the weak layer responsible for the most recent natural avalanche cycle has been found on all aspects above 2500′ in the intermountain and continental zone, but not the maritime zone.  This layer is buried 1.5-3 feet in depth and has produced propagation in stability tests as recently as 1/28, although results have been mixed.  Identifying the 1/14 BSH is becoming increasingly difficult as it is now laid flat, is rounding and the weight of the slab above has been mixing it with the snow beneath.  The likelihood of triggering an avalanche at this layer is decreasing as temperatures have been mild, and we haven’t received any major loading by precipitation or wind in the last 6 day.   If you were to trigger an avalanche at this layer, wide propagation would be expected as the overlying slab has settled and become dense (4 finger-1 finger).


Signs of instability may not exist even when dangerous conditions are present.  Digging snowpits is the most effective way to identify where this layer is present and its sensitivity.   Although, this can be a difficult assessment tool due to spatial variability (conditions that vary from place to place) and results that may be confusing or misleading.  This layer is becoming more subtle and could easily be missed.






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


  • Historic
  • Very Large
  • Large
  • Small


  • Increasing
  • Steady
  • Decreasing

Problem 2

Deep Slab:

Weak snow exists near the base of our snowpack in all three climate zones.  A step down avalanche occurred during the 1/23-25 storm on Nicks Buttress (see avalanche activity section).  The was the first activity at this layer since 1/6, but does show that weak snow near the base of the snowpack can still produce avalanches.


Faceted snow near the ground has been found to vary from place to place.  In most locations this snow has been found to be rounding (gaining strength) and unreactive in stability tests.  In thin areas of the snowpack these facets are significantly more developed.  On 1/31 a very thin snowpack was found (28-36 inches) ~4000′ on Nicks buttress/North aspect.  Stability tests produced propagation near the ground failing on 6mm depth hoar.  The most likely places to affect weak snow near the ground will be in areas where the snowpack is thin.


Tracks on a slope are not a sign of stability with this problem. 


Depth hoar from Nicks Buttress ~4000′ North aspect 1/31.





  • 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

1/26-  A significant amount of avalanche activity occurred during the 1/23-25 storm.  Avalanches were concentrated in the Intermountain and Continental zone and occurred on all aspects above 2000′.  Most of the activity appears to have failed mid storm at the 1/14 buried surface hoar layer (see problem 1) with crowns filled back in.  Notable avalanches occurred on: Crudbusters, Iguana Backs, Nicks Buttress, Gully 2 buttress, Little Girls, Easter Bunny, Averys, RFS.

Crudbusters north aspect ~4500′ SS-N-R2-D2.5

Hippie Ridge south aspect ~4000′ -SS-Ny-R1-D2

Giovanni (Buttress east of Nicks Happy Valley)north aspect ~3600′ SS-N-R3-D3.  Stepped down to facets near the ground at ~3100′.  This was the only avalanche reported or observed with a step down to deeper weak layers.

Buttress between Nick and Gully 2. north-northwest aspect ~3500′ SS-N-R4-D2.5




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
A 50 percent chance of snow, mainly after noon. Patchy freezing fog before noon. Cloudy, with a high near 24. North wind 10 to 15 mph becoming light northeast in the afternoon.
Snow likely. Cloudy, with a low around 19. Calm wind. Chance of precipitation is 70%. New snow accumulation of around an inch possible.
Snow likely, mainly before 9am. Cloudy, with a high near 24. Calm wind. Chance of precipitation is 60%. New snow accumulation of less than a half inch possible.
Thursday Night
A chance of snow between 9pm and 3am. Mostly cloudy, with a low around 14. Calm wind becoming northeast around 5 mph. Chance of precipitation is 30%.
A 30 percent chance of snow after 3pm. Mostly cloudy, with a high near 20. Northeast wind around 5 mph becoming calm in the afternoon.
Friday Night
A 50 percent chance of snow before 9pm. Cloudy, with a low around 14. Southeast wind around 5 mph.
Snow likely, mainly after 3pm. Cloudy, with a high near 24. Chance of precipitation is 70%.
Saturday Night
Snow likely. Cloudy, with a low around 14.
Detailed forecast for Thompson Pass Mid elevation (2000-4000 Feet)
Date               Wednesday 02/01/23      Thursday 02/02/23       
Time (LT)          06    12    18    00    06    12    18    00    06
Cloud Cover        OV    OV    OV    OV    OV    OV    OV    OV    OV
Cloud Cover (%)    85    90    95    95    90    85    80    85    85
Temperature        16    20    23    21    21    23    21    16    16
Max/Min Temp                   25          20          24          16
Wind Dir           NE     E    SE    SE    SE    SE    SE     E    NE
Wind (mph)          8     4     3     3     3     3     3     3     3
Wind Gust (mph)          16                                          
Precip Prob (%)     5    40    60    60    60    30    20    30    20
Precip Type               S     S     S     S     S     S     S     S
12 Hour QPF                  0.04        0.09        0.06        0.04
12 Hour Snow                  0.1         1.2         0.2         0.0
Snow Level (kft)  0.1   0.2   0.2   0.2   0.3   0.1   0.1   0.1   0.1
Click on link below for Thompson Pass weather history graph:






24 hr snow HN24W* High temp Low temp 72 hour SWE* February snowfall Seasonal snowfall Snowpack Depth
Valdez 0 0 33 21 .19 0 145 41
Thompson pass  0 0 24 17 N/O 0 286 48
46 mile 0 0 30 16 0 0 ~66** 38



*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 above 2000 feet and low below for the Intermountain and Continental zones.  It remains possible to trigger an avalanche 1.5-3 feet deep that would fail at weak snow beneath the most recent storm.  Areas where the snowpack is thin, steep convex or unsupported terrain will be the most likely areas to trigger an avalanche.

Posted by Gareth Brown 02/01  8:30 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.

If you have pictures of recent natural or human triggered avalanches or notice signs of instability such as shooting cracks or collapsing, leave an observation to help improve forecast accuracy.