Early Season Report: October 22, 2017

Issued: Sun, Oct 22, 2017 at 12PM

Expires: Wed, Oct 25, 2017

Early winter 2017-18. Daily forecasts will begin when conditions warrant in mid-November.
Until then, get your brain in gear for winter:

  • change the batteries in your transceiver
  • refresh your avalanche skills- November 18 Avalanche Rescue Workshop, Valdez Civic Center 10am-2pm
  • bookmark this forecast page
  • get your riding buddies stoked to wax their skis, change their sled oil, and/or buy that floatpack they’ve been needing
  • mark the date for the first of the season VAC social events – November 17 Winter is Coming Boondocker Films 12 &13, Civic Center 7pm.

Above 2,500ft None

1,800 to 2,500ft None

Below 1,800ft None

Degrees of Avalanche Danger ?

1. Low
2. Moderate
3. Considerable
4. High
5. Extreme

Avalanche Danger Rose ?

Avalanche Problems ?

Problem Details

Recent Avalanche Activity

Over the last week: north aspect, upper elevation, loose snow and windslab avalanches to size 2 off Francis at Milepost 1 and Meteorite at Milepost 12 triggered with 6-10 inches of new snow subsequently drifted with north winds.

Recent Weather

WEATHER FORECAST for NEXT 24 HRS at 3,000 ft:
Temperature Forecast (Min/Max *F):   27/15
Ridgetop Wind Forecast (direction/mph):  E-NE/10-15
Snowfall (in/water equivalent):  3″ /0.14 “
PAST 24 hours
Ferry Terminal Thompson Pass
Average Wind Speed (mph) / Direction   5/ENE  17 /NE
Max Wind Gust (mph) / Direction   9/NE  29 /NE
Temperature Min / Max (*F) 29 /39 15 /24

Weather Forecast:

Additional Info & Media

Kyle Sobek photo. 1st snow at Thompson Pass. Oct. 6, 2017-18

RWIS Thompson Pass Webcam October 22, 2017

There has been termination dust on the peaks since mid-August. October 6th was the first time it stuck at Thompson Pass. The snowline dropped down and 3-4″ wet snow accumulated. October 11-12 added another 3-5″ of snowfall down to 2500′ followed with a few more inches October 22nd.

As skies cleared, a moderate-to-strong north wind began transporting upper elevation dry snow. Peaks were seen flagging Tuesday and Wednesday, Oct.17-18.

If you are considering getting up into the snow, put your winter brain on. Consider the possibility of triggering a pocket of windslab from below. While coverage is still thin, high gullies could have 2-4′ of snow in them near ridgetops.

SNOW HISTORY: Valdez 10/22 AM Thompson Pass 10/22 AM
24 Hour Snow / Water Equiv.  1”/0.1″ 3″ /0.3″
Storm Snow /Water Equiv. (10/22-present)  1″ /0.1″ 3″ /0.3″
Current Snow Depth 1″ 6″
October Snow / Water Equiv. 1″ /0.1″ 10″ / 1.0″
Total Winter Snowfall / Water Equiv. 1″ /0.1” 10″ / 1.0″
Snowload in Valdez 0 lbs/sq. ft.


LAST 24 HRS (10/22 AM)/STORM TOTAL (10/22-present)/STORM WATER EQUIV.:
Nicks Valley at 4200 ft (in): 13″ / 6″ / ?”
Upper Tsaina at 1750 ft (in): ?” / ?” / ?”
Sugarloaf at 550 ft (in): 1″/ 0.1″ / 0.1″
SNOW DEPTH & WATER SURVEY (10/2017) Depth Snow Water Equivalent
Milepost 2.5 Valdez  0″  0″
Milepost 18 0″ 0″
Milepost 29 Worthington Flats 0″ 0″
Milepost 37 Tsaina River bridge 0″ 0″
This survey is done the first week of each month.

Weather Quicklinks:


  • coastal-zone-iconMaritime (Coastal) – from the Port of Valdez to Thompson Pass, all waters flowing into Valdez Arm and everything south of Marshall Pass.
  • intermountain-zone-iconInter-mountain (Transitional) – between Thompson Pass and Rendezvous Lodge.
  • interior-zone-iconContinental (Interior) – the dry north side of the Chugach (north of 46 Mile, including the Tonsina River).

Photo of Thompson Pass


Interactive Map of Valdez Forecast Areas w/ Many Resource Layers (Trevor Grams)


Run Map of Thompson Pass Area (Sean Wisner) (2MB download)
VAC Run Map Thompson Pass

NEWS: Our region is “one of the snowiest places on earth” – Serendipity / Rendezvous snowfall record set in 1963 <here>.

Free smart phone avalanche forecasts at: http://www.avalancheforecasts.com/

Posted in Continental Forecasts, Intermountain Forecasts, Maritime Forecasts, VAC Forecasts.
Sarah Carter

Forecaster: Sarah Carter