Controlled avalanche roars down mountain and engulfs road in Alaska

Spectacular moment avalanche roars down mountain and engulfs road in a giant cloud of powder as experts uses explosives to trigger the controlled snowslide in Alaska

  • Controlled avalanche was conducted in Juneau, Alaska, due to unstable snow 
  • Snow raced down the mountain at incredible speed after explosive detonated
  • Cloud of snow engulfed a road before ending in an enormous pile at the bottom 
  • Experts carry out the avalanches to prevent devastating natural ones occurring

An enormous plume of powder hurtled down a mountain side in Alaska this week as avalanche control teams used explosives to shift unstable snow. 

Experts from the Alaska Department of Transportation (DoT) initiated the snowslide in Juneau using explosives as part of a controlled exercise carried out to prevent devastating natural avalanches.

In the impressive clip the avalanche rumbles down the mountain, gathering speed before it engulfs a road in a cloud of powder. 

An impressive controlled avalanche in Juneau, Alaska, saw a huge amount of snow hurtle down the mountainside, gathering speed as it fell

At the start of the video an explosive can be seen detonating at the top of the snow-covered mountain and within seconds the powder begins to move. 

Several channels of fast-moving snow hurtle down the hill before coming together to form an expansive cloud of powder, which the person recording the video describes as a ‘rumbler tumbler’. 

It engulfs the road and eventually slows into an enormous heap as it reaches a body of water. 

As a result of the snowslide on Thursday, several trees were knocked down and around two feet of snow was dumped on the road below, KTOO reports. 


The snow cloud engulfed Thane Road below, which often sees controlled avalanches taking place, before finishing up in an enormous heap at the bottom of the mountain

The road’s access was cut off for several hours as teams worked to clear the large pile of snow. 

The DoT said it had conducted the controlled avalanche to unleash an unstable snowpack which, if it moved naturally, would have been extremely large. 

Controlled avalanches are regularly carried out in areas of Alaska which are susceptible to avalanches in a bid to improve highway safety. 

The transport experts use military artillery to trigger avalanches in four places in Alaska: Seward Highway, Richardson Highway and Dalton Highway, as well as Thane Road in Juneau. 

In the first nine days of March alone, Thane Road has been closed three times as the department conducts avalanche hazard reduction work.

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