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Backcountry Advisory

A return to sunny skies and rising freezing levels


Backcountry Advisory

As of Wednesday, May 10

Alpine: LOW

Treeline: LOW

Below Treeline: LOW

The avalanche Danger will increase with exposure to the sun and rising temperatures.

Travel Advisory: Periods of snowfall from Saturday night through Sunday night combined with Southerly winds at times gusting to 80 km/h drifted in many lee slopes in the alpine. 10-20 cm of new snow was found on most lee slopes on Monday. Since then slopes on all aspects and elevations have been affected by the sun and mild temperatures to varying degrees. The intense solar radiation that can be the norm at this time of year should be factored into your travel plans so that you can avoid traveling on or under any sun exposed slopes during the heat of the day.

Avalanche Activity: Avalanche control conducted on Monday morning resulted in some size 1.0 and 1.5 soft slab and loose avalanches from 10 to 20 cm in depth in some areas. Solar-induced loose natural avalanche activity was also observed on some steep East facing slopes on Monday and Tuesday, with skier-triggered wet surface sluffs sliding easily on the underlying crust during the heat of the day.

Snowpack: A melt-freeze crust can be found immediately below the new snow layers. This crust will provide an easy sliding surface for avalanche activity, particularly in areas where it was relatively smooth prior to the arrival of the snowfall. Slopes that were exposed to the sun yesterday have set up to varying degrees overnight, but will rapidly be affected by any sunny breaks. New snow instabilities may once again form if we see any accumulations of snowfall during the next several days.

Weather: Increasing cloud cover will arrive in our region on Wednesday night and Thursday as a weak system arrives onshore bringing a mix of cloud and sun with a chance of flurries through Friday. Freezing levels are expected to remain unseasonably low throughout this period. The ridge of high pressure is forecasted to rebound over the weekend bringing a return to sunny skies and rising freezing levels. The extended outlook is currently indicating that another system may arrive in our region next Tuesday.

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 Whistler Mtn. Snow Safety

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