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Backcountry Advisory

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As of Wednesday, Feb. 18

While the past few days have given us some much needed new snow, last week brought significant spring weather to our area. These warm and sunny conditions caused the snow pack to go through a spring cycle of change. Any slopes exposed to the sun were significantly affected with very strong crusts forming on south exposures. Shallow areas were observed to have been isothermal, or zero deg. C and moist from the surface to ground. Only sheltered north facing slopes were spared these changes. Some moderate to hard shears persisted in the snowpack on North facing terrain, while surface hoar also managed to form in these areas.

The new snow has been loaded by strong winds over the changed snow pack. Windslabs up to 40 cm have been observed in lee/sheltered terrain while windward slopes have been mostly scoured. Some natural activity has been noted while numerous skier-triggered slabs up to size two have been reported. Most of these slabs have been from terrain suspected of harbouring the surface hoar noted above. Easy shears within the storm snow will not support too much new snow loading and should be considered as they are deep enough to be difficult to notice without digging a snow profile.

The backcountry avalanche danger is rated as CONSIDERABLE on Wednesday, Feb. 18. Please consider that the conditions can change rapidly so stay in touch with www.avalanche.ca, www.whistler-blackcomb.com/weather or call 604-938-7676 for regular updates.

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