Below Treeline: Low
Travel Advisory: There are variable surfaces in the alpine. Most areas are quite stiff with isolated pockets of loose snow on usually windward slopes. Be wary of any hard hollow feeling areas of windslab, and keep in mind that large unpredictable avalanches are still very much a possibility in isolated areas.
Avalanche Activity: The Dec. 4 crust continues to react to large triggers like cornices. Falling cornice chunks could trigger a deep slab. The north winds have built areas of hollow hard slab into unusual locations that will remain a concern and may get weaker with the continued cool conditions through this week.
Snowpack: The snowpack in the alpine is quite variable due to the strong winds that accompanied the past storm. You will find scoured areas, sastrugi, stiff windslabs, as well as some thin sun-crust on solar exposures. The Dec. 4 raincrust and facet crystal weakness is well buried in most areas, but the crust can still be found on the surface in some wind affected terrain. Although this buried weakness has gradually been gaining strength, it continues to pop up sporadically, and the resulting avalanches are getting larger as the overlying snowpack grows. Its unpredictable nature is problematic and backcountry travelers should be cautious. The deep slab releases appear to be failing initially in a shallow part of the slab and propagating into deeper areas. Rocky start zones seem to be a common factor in these larger events. This persistent weakness is expected to be with us for some time to come.
Weather: Cool and slightly unsettled conditions are expected to persist through the week with a weak system forecast for Saturday.
Travel with a partner and be equipped and prepared for self-rescue. Watch out for winch-cats or snowmobile traffic if you re-enter the area after operating hours.
Daily updates are available at www.avalanche.ca < http://www.avalanche.ca > or whistlerblackcomb.com.
Blackcomb Snow Safety