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Backcountry Advisory

As of Wednesday, March 14

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Alpine:  CONSIDERABLE

Treeline: MODERATE

Below Treeline : LOW

The avalanche danger will rise with the precipitation and rising freezing levels forecast for late Thursday or Friday.

Travel Advisory : Last weekend’s monsoon event brought about 80-90mm of precipitation and consistently strong winds from the SE and E. The precipitation fell totally as snow above about 1,900 metres, but below this elevation the post storm cooling produced a variable surface crust that is now overlain by about 30 cm of low density snow. Above the rain line, the variable hard windslab from the weekend is now covered by the wind affected lower density snow. If you are at treeline or below, watch for frozen avalanche debris that may still not be well covered. In the high alpine, the strong winds have created many new features. Take care when following the ridgelines, as cornices have grown.

Avalanche Activity : Significant natural activity to size 2.5 took place during the weekend storm. All elevations produced avalanches — moist sluffs below the rainline and slabs in the higher wind loaded alpine terrain.   Further explosive testing Monday resulted in some hard windslabs to size 2 with crown lines maxing out at 100cm. Avalanche control carried out on Wednesday produced numerous pockets of soft slab that were running within or below the lower density cold snow that fell Tuesday and Tuesday night. Cornices were also moving easily.

Snowpack : In the high alpine terrain, Tuesday’s snow combined with prolonged strong winds from the S and SW have created pockets of soft slab that are sitting on the older stiff windslab. At treeline and below, the weekend crust can still be felt in spite of the 30 cm of overlying storm snow. Steep solar aspects are being affected by the sun today, and the low density snow is thickening. The forecast warmer storms for the weekend can be expected to create an upside down slab and the avalanche danger will rise.

Weather: The forecast is calling for a series of storms beginning Friday that will bring periods of precipitation and rising freezing levels.

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 surf to 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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