News » Whistler

Backcountry Advice

One metre windslabs "expected to produce sizeable avalanches."


As of Wednesday Feb. 1, 2006

Alpine: High

Treeline: High

Below Treeline: Considerable

Travel Advisory: Warmer temperatures and strong winds have loaded a stiff windslab onto the snowpack. Deep drifts of stiff slab over deep soft snow, large cornices and scoured hard areas can be found from below treeline up to ridgelines in the alpine.

Avalanche Activity: There were slab avalanches on all aspects in the alpine Monday. Most of the slabs were running in the new storm snow, however, at least one slide stepped down to the 060119 surface hoar layer. Tuesday night’s storm loaded stiff windslabs of up to one metre into lee start zones. These slabs are expected to produce sizeable avalanches. Large cornices can be expected to fail and may dig deep into the snowpack.

Snowpack:  January's storm snow comprises most of our snow pack. These storm snow layers have settled in and gained strength. In some alpine and treeline areas you can find a layer of buried surface hoar crystals about 100 cm below the surface. Where there is a stiff slab above the surface hoar, we are seeing easy shears at this interface. Tuesday's overnight winds have created a windslab in the alpine.

Weather: A period of less intense weather is expected for the remainder of the week. A severe storm may plough through our area starting late Friday, increasing freezing levels and bringing lots of wind and precipitation to our area through the weekend.

— Blackcomb Snow Safety