As I write this in mid-December, most of Southcentral is still closed to snowmobile use. The cold snap has broken and we’re getting snow, though, so here’s hoping that you’re reading this while kicking back after a weekend in the mountains.
Regardless of what kind of snow we’ve had between December and now, there are a few things you can be sure of. First, is that any snow that does fall will land on top of a weak layer created by our long cold snap. That’s a perfect setup for major snow instability and elevated avalanche danger.
In spite of the high avalanche potential, there is much you can to keep yourself safe while enjoying the new snow.
Start by checking the CNFAIC website (cnfaic.org) for regular avalanche forecasts, incident reports and access/closure updates. You can also get updates by calling in to the avalanche hotline at (907) 754-2369.
And even after checking forecasts and conditions, it’s important to keep your avvy-savvy brain turned on and tuned in to your surroundings. Remember that avalanche conditions will vary no matter what the forecasts say and, ultimately, you’re responsible for your own safety. Be willing to say “let’s turn around” or “let’s not go there” if conditions appear questionable. No ride is worth your life!
Check Out Upper Huffman
Last summer, Chugach State Park’s Upper Huffman parking area was doubled in size and a circular pull-through was added to vastly improving trailer access. The state has done all the hard work, so now all you have to do is get up there and enjoy it.
Although this year has (so far) been far below par in terms of snowfall, there’s still hope for turning it around. Keep your eyes tuned to http://www.cnfaic.org/advisories/current.php for updates on Chugach National Forest openings. You can also follow @ChugachForestAK, or call the Chugach National Forest Avalanche Information Center hotline at 754-2369 for recorded information about openings for motorized use.
For the latest information on Chugach State Park’s motorized-use openings go to alaskastateparks.org and check under the “Current News” heading. You can also visit the Chugach State Park Facebook page, or call 269-8400 and select option “1” for a recorded message about the latest openings.
This year, Resurrection Pass/West Resurrection are reserved for non-motorized use; however, we can look forward to a full winter of motorized access in the 2013 – 2014 season.
Motorized Use Openings
|Snowmachine Area||Dates Open for Motorized Use||Number Days Open|
|Anchorage Hillside||12-24-2011 to 2-9-2012 & 2-24-2012 to 4-2-2012||48 + 39 = 87|
|Bird Valley||11-10-2011 to 4-19-2012||162|
|Eklutna||11-23-2011 to 4-19-2012||149|
|Eagle River||1-6-2012 to 4-19-2012||105|
|Peters Creek||12-30-2011 to 4-19-2-12||112|
|Ptarmigan||12-24-2011 to 1-13-2012 & 2-24-2012 to 4-2-2-12||21 + 39 = 60|