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Backcountry Advisory

No snow, low avalanche risk


As of February 15, 2006

Alpine: LOW

Treeline: LOW

Below Treeline: LOW

Travel Advisory: We have not received any significant accumulations of snow since the storm cycle that ended on Saturday Feb. 4. Since then winds have formed various layers of windslab on some lee slopes and in the lee of any terrain features in the high alpine.  These stiff slabs may be reactive to the weight of a person in some isolated areas. Solar aspects should see little in the way of surface instability development with the cooler temperatures we are expecting. Cornices are large and looming, and should be treated with respect. Stay well away from the edges.

Avalanche Activity: Explosive and ski testing carried out after the Feb. 5 storm cycle resulted in numerous small slab avalanches. We also observed some isolated deeper releases that seemed to be running under a buried windslab that formed on January 31. These deeper slabs all appeared to have a rocky start zone and/or trigger point in common. There are pockets of windslab in isolated terrain features that may be reactive to the weight of a skier in the alpine. 

Snowpack: The older storm snow layers have continued to settle in and gain strength. We are still seeing moderate to hard shears, with shear qualities that are either "resistant" or "non-planar break", in the upper 50-60 cm of the snowpack. In some alpine and treeline terrain you will find layers of buried surface hoar crystals lying about 15 centimeters and one metre below the surface. On solar exposed slopes and below about 2,000 metres in elevation there is a thin melt freeze crust just below the surface, and then again approximately at 0.15 metres into the snowpack. Small surface hoar has been growing with the cold clear nights.

Weather: Arctic air will bring cold dry conditions to to our area for the rest of the week. 

Blackcomb Snow Safety