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Backcountry Advisory

Considerable avalanche warning in alpine, treeline


As of Wednesday, Dec. 27



Below Treeline: MODERATE

Travel Advisory:  Good skiing and above average coverage are what you will see first when you head out over the next few days. Exposed areas have been scoured by the winds that have accompanied all of the recent weather events, while sheltered terrain is well loaded. What you probably won't see are the numerous slab avalanches that have been occurring over the past week. These slabs have been occurring in sheltered terrain and have been triggered low in start zones, or after numerous tests have already indicated that the slope is unreactive.

Avalanche Activity: Explosive and ski testing on Tuesday produced variable results, with slabs not immediately reactive. Size 1 and 2 slab avalanches have been triggered after explosives have produced no result. Some start zones have released surface instabilities that stepped down into old instabilities resulting in cumulative crown depths approaching one metre. These slabs were running wide and far. Expect these slab instabilities to persist in isolated steep lee start zones.

Snowpack: The snowpack is extremely variable due to the strong winds that have accompanied the past few snowfalls. As you get closer to treeline, the snow becomes less slabby but you will still find some areas that have been stiffened by the wind. Be wary of rocky terrain where a failure at a weak point on the slope could pull into the fat part of the slab and produce a sizeable avalanche. There is almost 50cm of storm snow that has easy shears within it.

Weather: A brief period of high pressure is expected on Thursday and Friday followed by unsettled conditions through the weekend and more organized weather early next week.

Remember that there are still many exposed early season hazards so take it easy out there. Watch for winch cats and snowmobile traffic if you re-enter the ski area after operating hours. Call 604-938-7676 or surf to or for more information.

Blackcomb Snow Safety