• Forecast
  • News Tip
  • Categories
Temperature Precipitation
Estimated read time
1m 35s

Conditions ripe for deadly avalanches

By Bonney Bowman 7:14 AM January 2, 2014

Many people think only steep slopes can cause an avalanche, but that's not the case

ANCHORAGE-  The risk is high for deadly avalanches in the areas of Turnagain Pass and Hatcher Pass.

The Chugach National Forest Avalanche Information Center issued a warning Wednesday about a considerable danger of human-triggered avalanches.

There are things people can do in the backcountry to reduce the risk, said Dave Mayo-Kiely.

Before he took his family out to ski and sled on Wednesday, he said he checked the conditions.

“We had heard that it was pretty bad avalanche conditions up at Turnagain Pass and whatnot so we made sure we just stayed off of the steep slopes around here and stayed in the open meadows,” Mayo-Kiely said.

“When there’s danger we try and stay away and generally with the kids just avoid anything that could ever be considered close to avalanche,” he said.

When it comes to avalanche safety, it’s all about getting educated.

“Biggest thing to keep in mind is if it’s fun to ski or sled on, it’s steep enough to avalanche,” said Brian Skien, a sales specialist at REI.

Many people think only steep slopes can cause an avalanche, but that’s not the case, he said. More and more people are back country skiing, which ups the risk.

Skein said having the right tools can save lives. He called it the trifecta: beacon, probe and shovel.

The beacon helps locate a buried victim and the probe is used to pinpoint the victim to dig them out, which is why having someone to dig a person out is vital, he said.

“After 10 minutes, the survivability rate just takes a cliff dive so really companion rescue is your best bet,” Skein said.

REI offers avalanche safety courses, as do places like the North American Outdoor Institute and Alaska Avalanche School.

Knowing the warning signs and how to react if an avalanche happens are the keys to being safe in the great outdoors, Skein said.

Latest Stories

  • Politics

    Citizen lobbyists frustrated by short-notice cancellation of session Thursday

    by Liz Raines on Apr 28, 21:04

    The Alaska House was supposed to take up an omnibus criminal justice reform bill, Senate Bill 91, in a floor session Thursday morning, but the meeting was cancelled with less than an hour’s notice. A House Majority Press Secretary said the latest version of the bill wasn’t finished being drafted after amendments were made in […]

  • News

    Construction worker remembered as one of dozens killed on the job in Alaska

    by Heather Hintze on Apr 28, 20:39

    More than two dozen workers in Alaska were killed on the job in 2015. On Thursday, people gathered at the Fallen Firefighters’ Memorial to honor those men and women for Workers Memorial Day. “All I can say is that I will never forget Samuel, and you and your family and I vow and our staff vows […]

  • News

    Citing dry conditions, AFD encourages free home inspection program

    by Eric Ruble on Apr 28, 20:24

    Captain Joe Albrecht has spent 38 years with the Anchorage Fire Department. He said this year’s fire danger is ”unprecedented,” especially on Anchorage’s hillside. “It’s a fact that sooner or later there’s going to be a large incident and there’s not much the Anchorage Fire Department is going to be able to do when it happens,” […]

  • Lifestyle

    Fewer U.S. teens are having babies; here’s why

    by CBS News on Apr 28, 18:39

    Birth rates among teens in the U.S. have dropped dramatically since 2006, according to a new report, and there are a lot of factors behind the trend, including a steep decline in births by black and Hispanic teens. Births to all American teenagers have plummeted by more than 40 percent, said Lisa Romero of the U.S. […]

  • Lifestyle

    Numbers don’t lie: Alaskans are crazy about their chickens

    by Carolyn Hall on Apr 28, 18:18

    A small tract of land can yield quite a crop for an ambitious backyard homesteader such as Mountain View resident Phil Cannon. His garden produces all the staples: carrots, potatoes, beets and lettuce. “We try to grow as much as we can for vegetables. This year we’re gonna let the kids grow their own sections […]

  • Politics

    Negotiators reach deal on excess power program earnings

    by Associated Press on Apr 28, 17:21

    JUNEAU, Alaska (AP) – House and Senate negotiators have reached agreement for use of any excess earnings from a fund set up to help rural areas faced with high electricity costs. A conference committee Thursday agreed to legislation that would allow for 70 percent of excess earnings from the Power Cost Equalization endowment fund to […]

  • On-Air

    Reality Check w/ John Tracy: Why the fiscal gap should be fixed now

    by John Tracy on Apr 28, 16:56

    Back in October, when I first began these commentaries, I said that lawmakers would be unlikely to levy an income tax, or use earnings from the Permanent Fund to help balance the budget. It didn’t take much of a crystal ball to make that prediction going into an election year, even though it was possible […]

  • Crime

    Anchorage man admits to stealing mail, credit cards from Hillside residents

    by KTVA CBS 11 News on Apr 28, 16:01

    An Anchorage man pleaded guilty to charges of mail theft and credit card fraud in federal court Wednesday, according to a release from the U.S. Attorney’s Office. Evan Mullen, 28, admitted to stealing mail and packages from multiple homes in Anchorage’s Hillside neighborhood from December 2015 until his arrest in February 2016. His main target […]