News » Whistler

Backcountry Advisory


As of Wednesday, March 27

Spring arrived rather abruptly this year, with temperatures climbing like a rocket on the 21st. The result was a little flurry of loose, wet avalanche activity followed by a general strengthening of the snowpack with daily melt-freeze cycles. There is now a widespread melt-freeze crust that is making for miserable downhill conditions but fast uphill travel.

The snowpack is now typically well consolidated and presenting little in the way of deeper weaknesses. The focus is in the top layers under spring time warming cycles or with the accumulation of any new snow over the melt-freeze crust. Cornices are, as always, worth steering clear of, particularly under periods of protracted warming.

The weather forecast calls for a typical spring storm pattern of rather weak frontal systems alternating with periods of clearing. The air mass should remain cool so any warming will be limited to periods of sun exposure. Currently there are small pockets of new snow windslabs forming in the alpine under periods of strong southerly winds.

Travel with caution if you choose to leave the ski area boundary. Take a partner with you and be prepared for self rescue. Watch for winch cats and snowmobiles working if you are returning inbounds after hours.

The backcountry avalanche danger is currently rated as LOW trending to MODERATE as new snow and wind loading increases. For daily backcountry advisories call 604-938-7676 or check WWW.WHISTLERBLACKCOMB.COM. For areas further afield try WWW.AVALANCHE.CA or 1-800-667-1105.