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Backcountry Advisory

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As of Wednesday, April 2

We received 70 mm of precipitation during the warm storm cycle last weekend. Most of that fell as rain below about 1,700m. Above 2,000m the bulk of the precipitation fell as snow. Temperatures cooled rapidly after the storm and daily flurries are beginning to cover up the variable conditions left by the rain-freeze cycle. At lower elevations, the crust is weak or non-existent, depending on the amount of overlying insulating snow. In the alpine terrain, this crust is in some areas still on the surface, but for the most part covered by varying amounts of storm snow.

You can expect to find isolated surface slabs that are reactive to the weight of a person. New soft slabs have continued to form on some lee slopes exposed to the moderate south and south-westerly winds. Keep in mind as well that the low density unconsolidated snow of your first run in the morning may rapidly change consistency with the appearance of the sun. Suddenly either the slab becomes reactive, or the moist sluffs begin. Be cautious on steep rocky terrain – the potential for a deeper slab release still exists in some isolated areas. Remember that the strength of this most recent crust is a key factor when trying to decide if old underlying weaknesses are well bridged over. Cornice chunks are going to be the likely triggers for large avalanches, so avoid slopes that have looming overhangs above. Stand well back if you are travelling along the ridgelines – at this time of year the mature cornices may break well back onto the flats.

The backcountry avalanche danger is currently rated as MODERATE.

Check for the most current information before you decide to head out and minimize your risks by following the rules of good route finding. Remember that regardless of how well equipped you may be, your chances of survival become slim if you are buried deeper than 150 cm. Think AVOIDANCE!

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