ANCHORAGE, Alaska (AP) — People venturing into the mountains of the Chugach National Forest face high levels of avalanche danger, according to avalanche experts.

The danger is high from Hatcher Pass to Seward, according to the Chugach National Forest Avalanche Information Center.

“That means natural avalanches are likely and human-triggered avalanches are very likely,” said Aleph Johnston-Bloom, an avalanche specialist.

She recommends staying out of the mountains and away from avalanche terrain until the danger recedes, KTUU-television reported.

“We’re saying don’t go out,” she said. “Enjoy work. Go to Alyeska, have a good time. Away from the mountains, away from avalanche terrain.”

Freshly snow may be tempting to skiers, Johnston-Bloom, but it fell on weak snow. Cold and clear weather in January formed the layer of weak snow


“Now underneath this huge slab of snow is this really weak foundation,” Johnston-Bloom said.

It’s hard to determine when danger levels will go down, she said.

“This is called a persistent weak layer. It can be dangerous a few days after a storm, a few weeks after the storm or potentially months after the storm. so you need to make sure you’re checking the avalanche forecast,” she said.

Recreating in flats below slopes also could be dangerous, according to the center.