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Backcountry Advisory

As of Wednesday, March 28


Alpine: LOW

Treeline: LOW

Below Treeline: LOW    

Travel Advisory : Last weekend’s storm came with warm temperatures and strong winds from the SE and SW. The temperatures cooled dramatically by Sunday morning, and once again you will find a melt-freeze crust at or near the surface below about 1,650 metres. It may become challenging as you drop down in elevation. Alpine conditions are variable due to the strong winds — many windswept ridges are still being scoured down to the mid-March crust. Ski penetration is minimal until you get below exposed terrain — travel conditions are good. Many steep solar aspects now have a weak crust after the sunny days on Monday and Tuesday.

Avalanche Activity : Explosive and ski testing carried out Sunday morning produced little in the way of slab activity. There was, however, evidence of natural activity that had occurred during the storm. It appeared as well that natural cornice fall on Monday triggered some slabs in the Callaghan/Brandywine area. Cornices are the major hazard at this time — they are large and became brittle when the temperatures dropped quickly on the weekend. Keep in mind that a slope seemingly safe for skier/boarder travel could fail with the weight of a falling cornice chunk.

Snowpack: In keeping with the norm for the past few weeks, the snowpack varies greatly depending on aspect and elevation. As previously mentioned, a melt-freeze crust can be felt at treeline and below. In the alpine areas the snow has been pressed by the wind, scoured, and moistened by the sun. Know your terrain as it is difficult to extrapolate conditions from one slope to the next.

Weather: The forecast is calling for a series of systems to pass through our area during the latter part of the week. Hopefully the sun makes another appearance by the weekend. 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 938-7676, or surf to where there is also a link to the CAA public avalanche bulletin, or call 1-800-667-1105