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Backcountry Advisory

Avalanche advisor likely to increase


Backcountry Advisory

As of Wednesday, April 12

Alpine: LOW increasing with a frontal system Thursday night

Treeline: LOW increasing with a frontal system Thursday night

Below Treeline: LOW increasing with a frontal system Thursday night

Travel Advisory: The avalanche danger is likely to increase rapidly with the arrival of a low pressure system Thursday night. The potential of new snow sitting on a melt-freeze crust could be very dangerous and may become more unstable if the temperature rises. Cornices are weak and will become increasingly fragile with a little extra load. Give yourself lots of leeway if you are traveling along the ridgelines and run out zones. After this front passes through the area be increasingly cautious of sun and rising temperatures due to the potential snow in start zones. Anticipate a return to fast spring travel conditions early in the day that rapidly deteriorate with exposure to the sun and/or daytime warming.

Avalanche Activity: Recently we have seen rising temperatures which have caused snow mushrooms to fall and cornices to sag considerably. 15 cm of snow has fallen since the beginning of the week causing moist avalanches up to size 1 to run on the melt-freeze crust. With the forecasted snow and a slippery bed surface it is expected we will see very reactive avalanches over the next few days.

Snowpack: Typical spring melt-freeze conditions prevail on all but due north aspects above 2,000 metres. Overnight radiant cooling will continue to result in the development of a melt-freeze crust on any slopes that have moistened during the previous day. The underlying basal layers of the snowpack are generally quite strong with no persistent weaknesses observed. Below treeline the snowpack is becoming progressively more isothermal.

Weather: A strong frontal system is forecasted to arrive in our area Thursday evening. Expect moderate amounts of precipitation, 15-25cm of snow at higher elevations and rain below. The unsettled pattern of the past week will persist through the weekend with potential for sun early next week.

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 604-938-7675, or at

— Blackcomb Snow Safety

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