Thursday, January 01, 2009

High Avalanche Hazard Whistler

A special bulliten has been issued by the Canadian Avalanche assoiciation concerning the fragility of this seasons snowpack after two seperate fatal accidents in out of bounds area's beyond the ski area boundry sign.

The current snowpack is unstable and unusual for the South Coast. Due to the presence of persistent weak layers, the conditions will not improve as quickly as we are used to on the coast. Don't let the fresh snow and brief periods of sunshine lure you into typical big slopes and steep chutes.

It's important to be patient and make conservative terrain choices for the time being.

Most avalanche professionals are "tiptoeing around", and many long time locals have said it's also a very "toucy and abnormal snowpack, and haven't seen anything like it in 30 years" and avoiding avalanche terrain alltogether, and this is certainly a warranted approach at least as this avalanche cycle peaks towards Sunday / Monday when conditions could easily go to extreme hazard when a large storm approaches.

The snowpack could be described as a mousetrap ready to snap. It might get your leg or your head.

Stick to simple, low-angle, slopes in the trees that are well away from avalanche paths and runouts.

Again, conditions are very touchy and triggering an avalanche is likely, especially in shallow rocky areas, steep convex rolls, and windloaded northerly aspects. Also noted from this mornings flight were numerous small size 1.5 below treeline.

It may be possible to trigger avalanches in areas that see infrequent activity, and also remote triggering is possible. Exercise extra caution and give yourself a wide margin of safety.

We are expecting conditions to rapidly deteriorate again on Saturday night with the arrival of an intense frontal system.

Official RCMP news release
Link to site-->>

Canadian Avalanche assoiciation
Link to site-->>

A special avalanche warning has been issued for the South Coast beginning on Thursday, January 1 until Monday, January 5. We are urging backcountry users to be very conservative in their decision-making at this time.

If you are not comfortable assessing avalanche conditions then you should consider enjoying the new snow in-bounds at a ski area.

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