Concern lies thickly over backcountry snow as dangerous conditions persist: Avalanche Canada & More Trending News


There are deep layers of concern and uncertainty over deep layers of weak snow buried within the West Kootenay backcountry alpine areas that would create giant avalanches.

Although there have been no avalanches reported within the West Kootenay area for the final two days, dangerous conditions nonetheless exist within the backcountry, based on Avalanche Canada (AC).

Persistent slabs — that are notably troublesome to forecast — permeate the alpine and treeline areas of the backcountry, mentioned AC avalanche forecaster Ross Goddard in his report on Wednesday.

“With the rise in temperatures expect to see signs of instability like pinwheeling and tree bombs,” he mentioned. “This could create smaller accumulated loading on the surface and trigger weak layers buried further down creating large avalanches.”

He strongly beneficial making low-consequence selections of terrain that may not expose backcountry customers to the implications, if folks selected to journey in avalanche terrain.

“Although persistent and deep persistent avalanches have been on the decline, warming that is expected to arrive on Thursday brings real concern for the potential for natural as well as human triggering of weak layers buried deeper in the snowpack,” Goddard defined in his report.

Avalanches have already claimed 5 lives in B.C. in 2023, mentioned Bowinn Ma, minister of Emergency Management and Climate Readiness, in a press release launched Wednesday.

“This year’s snowpack is being compared to 2003, which was one of the worst years for avalanche fatalities,” mentioned Ma.

Avalanche Canada expects these conditions to final the rest of the winter season in some areas.

Avalanche exercise within the area has been sparse, with most exercise (on Sunday) consisting of primarily of small (measurement 1 or much less) dry unfastened releases from steeper terrain with skier visitors and ski slicing.

“For our neighbours to the north, several wind slab and persistent slab avalanches were reported that ranged in size from one to two,” mentioned Goddard.


Snowpack abstract

New snow — as much as 20 centimetres — has buried a brand new weak layer.

The new snow consists of faceted snow, floor hoar (three to 10 millimetres) and a crust.

“The surface hoar is found in sheltered areas up to 2,200 metres and the crust is present on steep solar aspects,” Goddard mentioned in his report. “Variable winds at high elevations have pushed this new snow around, creating wind slabs on a variety of aspects.”

A freezing rain or rime crust buried on Jan. 18 now sits about 15 to 30 cm deep, with different layers — crusts, aspects and floor hoar — discovered within the higher snowpack between 30 to 50 cm down.

“They have yet to produce avalanche activity but they are something to keep an eye on,” Goddard mentioned.

The principal concern proper now within the West Kootenay backcountry is a floor hoar layer that developed in early January — down roughly 50-70 cm — together with a melt-freeze crust from late December (70-90 cm deep).

“These layers are responsible for our persistent slab problem,” mentioned Goddard. “Our deep persistent slab problem stems from a weak layer created in mid-November and it is now buried 100 to 190 cm deep. These layers are a major concern and can produce large or even very large avalanches with human or machine triggers.”

Source: RGoddard, Avalanche Canada


Weather you go


Cloudy with doable late day solar, as much as 9 centimetres of accumulation targeted largely within the western space of the area; winds west at 15 kilometres per hour, gusting to 45 km/h.

Treeline temperatures will get to above zero levels Celsius attributable to a temperature inversion, with freezing ranges as much as 700 metres.


A mixture of solar and cloud, as much as seven cm. accumulation in some elements of the area ending within the morning; winds northwest at 25 km/h.

Treeline temperatures round -5 C.


A mixture of solar and cloud, as much as 4 cm. accumulation; winds northeast 15 to 30 km/h.

Treeline temperatures at -17 C.

• More particulars will be discovered within the Mountain Weather Forecast.

Source: Avalanche Canada


Backcountry customers ought to all the time test the avalanche forecast at:


If you go

• Avoid steep, shallow and rocky terrain options. Everyone in a backcountry occasion wants the important gear, such as a transceiver, shovel and probe, and the coaching to make use of them.

• Adopt a cautious mindset when in avalanche terrain.

• Be diligent about terrain selections. Sticking to slope angles of lower than 30 levels when in clearings, open bushes and alpine terrain will help reduce danger.

• Follow disciplined group decision-making, making certain that every group member is engaged in terrain choice.

• Minimize publicity to overhead hazards, on condition that these avalanches will be remotely triggered and journey far in runout zones.

• Travel separately when uncovered to avalanche terrain and regroup in protected spots properly away from overhead hazards.

• Avoid publicity to terrain traps, such as gullies, cliffs and bushes, to cut back the danger of being caught in an avalanche.

• Practise persistence, keep away from complacency and settle for that you could be have to handle this danger for weeks or months to return.

Source: Avalanche Canada

Concern lies thickly over backcountry snow as dangerous conditions persist: Avalanche Canada

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Concern lies thickly over backcountry snow as dangerous conditions persist: Avalanche Canada

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Concern lies thickly over backcountry snow as dangerous conditions persist: Avalanche Canada

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