As of Wednesday, March 5
Fair weather has continued to dominate our area and the potential weaknesses in the snowpack have still not been put to the test. You will find an array of conditions in the alpine suncrust, windpressed snow and even some winterlike snow that has been made more enjoyable by the addition of facets and surface hoar. A quick dig in any shallow rocky areas will show that the snow crystals have been transformed into sugary facets. These areas should be considered suspect when or if the long awaited "big dump" ever arrives.
The facets and surface hoar dating back to the mid February clear spell are buried approximately 40 cm deep, and they too could prove to be a future weak layer. Hopefully the forecast cool, showery weather will give us some fresh sliding surfaces and a blast of winter before spring truly sets in.
Remember that the sun is now packing some power. On a clear day, maximum and minimum temperatures will vary greatly, and the snow quality on solar aspects will reflect that difference. Be particularly wary of those "greenhouse effect" days when the sun is glaring through a mostly cloudy sky cover. On these occasions, the surface on all aspects will change.
Check for the most current conditions before you head out into the backcountry. Information is available at 604-938-7676 or www.avalanche.ca . The backcountry hazard rating on March 5 is MODERATE.