by Jackie Bartz
Monday, February 15, 2010
ANCHORAGE, Alaska -- Avalanche danger is high across Southcentral Alaska. Avalanche experts say people need to know what the conditions are like before they head out.
A skier was killed on Saturday near Eagle River above Hiland road after investigators say he triggered an avalanche, and ConocoPhillips Alaska president Jim Bowles was killed and another snowmachiner is missing in an avalanche near Moose Pass.
North of Anchorage, strong winds are currently creating problems.
South of Anchorage, it's a different story: Rain is creating heavy, wet snow.
Avalanche experts say this can be a dangerous time of year because temperatures vary between above and below the freezing mark, making the snow unstable.
"You might see shooting cracks which is evidence of stored elastic energy within a wind slab, and any wind slab that sounds like there is a hollow wind sound or texture to it, the ingredients are starting to add up to everything that you need to have an avalanche minus the trigger," said Kip Melling with the Alaska Avalanche School.