Avalanche Canada Warns Warming May Produce Large Avalanches

Avalanche Canada has reported that this week’s warm weather has the potential to produce large avalanches across Southern BC and Alberta.

Whistler’s avalanches this week are a great example.

A week ago, we saw a single day of warm, sunny weather produce large and very large avalanches across many of the coastal and interior regions. This week’s weather has the potential to produce similar results.

Forecasting for this kind of activity can be tricky, as sometimes warming produces only small wet loose avalanches. But given the time of year and the complex layering in the snowpack, we are concerned about the potential for this warm up to produce large, surprising avalanches that are more than capable of burying a person. They may be storm slabs in the recent snow, persistent slabs on older layers, wet slab or wet loose, or even just large cornice falls.

Because of these uncertainties, it’s best to choose more conservative terrain during this period of intense warming and sun exposure. Conditions will become more predictable in a few weeks once the snowpack has completed its transition into spring. For now, this type of warming should be treated with extra caution.

Always check the avalanche conditions at avalanche.ca before heading out.