Public avalanche warning issued for backcountry users

Public avalanche warning for recreational backcountry users issued for the dates between Friday, February 10 to Monday, February 13.

A special public avalanche warning for recreational backcountry users has been issued for the dates between Friday, February 10 to Monday, February 13.

Recent extreme snowfall has doubled the depth of the current snowpack. Snow has no sign of letting up in the next few days, and this will be met with an increase in wind and temperatures. These winds have created dense slabs of snow which lie on a weak base of sugary, faceted snow.

Areas affected by this avalanche warning are as follows: Kananaskis Country and Waterton Lake National Park, Avalanche Canada’s South Rockies and Lizard and Flathead regions, the southern part of the Purcells region and the eastern part of the Kootenay Boundary region are also included.

For a map of the affected locations, click here.

“Clearing skies and good riding conditions after a long drought are expected to entice people into the mountains,” explained James Floyer, forecasting program supervisor for Avalanche Canada.

“While natural avalanches are tapering off, we’re concerned that human triggering of large avalanches remains possible throughout the weekend,” he added.

Avalanche Canada, Kananaskis Country and Parks Canada discourage any recreational backcountry users with little to no avalanche training to avoid avalanche terrain. Even experienced backcountry explorers are encouraged to only traverse simple terrain, such as small, low angle, well-supported features with no large steep slopes or cornices above.

Recreationalists even outside the specified areas are advised to exercise caution as, “potentially hazardous conditions exist in a number of areas throughout B.C. and Alberta.”

Before setting out on an adventure, check for current avalanche information.

Those undertaking backcountry expeditions are required to carry an avalanche transceiver, probe and shovel. A two-day Avalanche Skills Training 1 course is the minimum training recommended for traveling in avalanche terrain.