• 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

  • Lifestyle

    Getting help with insurance: Some Alaskans can save money on health care, expert says

    by KTVA CBS 11 News on Dec 06, 21:14

    Right now, about 16,000 Alaskans who buy health insurance through healthcare.gov get tax credits to help pay for coverage. One expert says more than 30,000 others could also get help if they knew to ask. For those in need of health insurance starting on Jan. 1, the enrollment deadline is Dec. 15. Cherise Fowler, the outreach and […]

  • News

    APD’s Project Angel Tree returns to bring presents to Anchorage children in need

    by KTVA CBS 11 News on Dec 06, 20:49

    After a successful first year, the Anchorage Police Department has brought back its Project Angel Tree. Through the project, Anchorage residents can provide presents for local children in need. The Anchorage School District provided the names and wishlists of more than 40 children. As the tags started to quickly disappear, police said they would request […]

  • News

    Walker: Holiday open house a long-standing Alaska tradition

    by Becky Bohrer / AP on Dec 06, 20:23

    Gov. Bill Walker says the holiday open house at the governor’s mansion in Juneau is a long-standing, special tradition that he feels is appropriate to continue as Alaska grapples with a multibillion-dollar budget deficit. Since 1913, the governor’s office says, the public has been welcomed into the house during every holiday season but two, during […]

  • Weather

    KTVA Weather Lab: Airport Heights Elementary School

    by Melissa Frey on Dec 06, 20:19

    In this week’s KTVA Weather Lab, I visited Airport Heights Elementary School, where the third-graders in Mrs. Charlie’s class are learning all about different types of clouds.   I also answered the KTVA Weather Lab Question of the Week: How do clouds change color? Next Tuesday, the KTVA Weather Lab heads to Denali Montessori School! Every […]

  • Lifestyle

    Small business owners feeling the recession pinch

    by Bonney Bowman on Dec 06, 20:12

    If you’re budgeting less for Christmas presents this holiday season, you’re not alone. Local retailers say they’re feeling the effects of the recession. That’s no surprise to economic experts, like Bill Popp, who is president of the Anchorage Economic Development Corporation. He said consumers aren’t just worried about the drop in oil prices, but also […]

  • Gang activity to blame? Experts weigh in on Grunwald murder.

    by Shannon Ballard on Dec 06, 20:01

    Alaska State Troopers confirm Tuesday afternoon that the body discovered last Friday was in fact 16-year-old David Grunwald and the manner of death was homicide. Many questions remain as the investigation continues, including whether Grunwald’s death was gang related. Troopers believe several teens and an adult may have been involved the crime, though so far only 16-year-old […]

  • News

    ‘We live in fear’: Former House candidate expresses concern over post made by Demboski

    by Lauren Maxwell on Dec 06, 19:40

    An Anchorage Assembly member is caught up in a war of words that has one man saying he fears for his family’s safety. The subject matter is radical Islam, the Assembly member is Amy Demboski and the man who’s worried is Gregory Jones, a former Democratic House candidate in the Valley who is also a […]

  • Unidentified Green River Killer victim may have been from Alaska, tests show

    by KTVA CBS 11 News on Dec 06, 16:52

    Forensic testing may be the key to identifying one of the Green River Killer’s victims, known only as Jane Doe 1986 or Jane Doe B-16. The tests show she may have lived in Alaska prior to her death, according to the National Center for Missing and Exploited Children (NCMEC). “The results indicate that she may […]