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Backcountry Advisory

As of Wednesday, Feb. 16

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Alpine: MODERATE

Treeline: LOW

Below Treeline: LOW

Travel Advisory : The 10 cm of new snow that fell last weekend is resting on a variety of old snow surfaces ranging from wind-pressed layers to melt-freeze crusts. Moderate to strong winds from a variety of southerly quadrants accompanied and followed the snowfall. These windslabs may remain reactive to the weight of a person in some isolated areas. Be wary of any slopes with a "hollow" feel to them. The rain crust that formed on Jan. 27 lays exposed on the surface at ridge tops.

Avalanche Activity: You can expect pockets of windslab to be reactive to ski testing in some isolated areas. The sun is packing more of a punch at this time of year, and will likely result in some moist surface instabilities on steep south-facing slopes as temperatures climb along with the rising freezing levels in the latter half of this week.

Snowpack : Cold temperatures during the past week have formed a layer of facets immediately above a weakening melt-freeze crust that formed on Feb. 2. In some areas windslabs have continued to form throughout the week. Easy to moderate shears were observed at the interface between the windslabs and the underlying snow surface. In some areas this interface was the aforementioned faceted layers of snow, in others it was a rain crust that formed in January. Large surface hoar crystals that formed a week ago remain intact at treeline elevations, and are now buried by last weekend’s snowfall. These layers could become a factor if we ever get a decent dump of snow in the near future.

Weather : A ridge of high pressure over the coast this week will bring rising freezing levels as an inversion develops in the latter half of the week. We can expect to see increasing cloud cover and lowering freezing levels with the arrival of a weak system late in the day on Friday that may see scattered snow flurries developing over the weekend. The ridge is expected to rebuild again on Monday.

Conditions may vary and can change rapidly. Check for the most current conditions before heading out into the backcountry. Daily updates for the areas adjacent to Whistler-Blackcomb are available at 604-938-7676, or at www.whistler-blackcomb.com/weather where there is also a link to the CAA public avalanche bulletin, or call 1-800-667-1105.

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