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Backcountry Avalanche Advisory

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As of Wednesday, Jan. 11, 2006

Alpine: Considerable

Treeline:Considerable

Below Treeline:Moderate

Travel Advisory: Winter has finally arrived and many of the early season hazards in the alpine terrain are getting covered or filled in, and the tree lines have become passable. A nonstop series of systems has gone through the area bringing periods of snowfall every day since Christmas. For the most part each day’s snowfall has had some wind affect and slabs have been reactive immediately following the storm. Give any new snow a day to settle out before tackling the steeper terrain. Watch for overhanging cornice tabs – a falling chunk could produce a deeper release on the underlying slope.

Avalanche Activity: Ski cutting and explosive testing this week have produced numerous slabs that were running easily and propagating widely. All of the results appeared to involve the overnight snow only and there has been no evidence of any slabs pulling down into the older storm snow layers. The warmish temperatures and moderate to strong winds have been ideal for cornice formation, so the ridge lines are starting to take on a more mid season-like appearance. Control work carried out this morning after last night’s wind-affected 10 cm of new snow produced similar results – soft slabs running easily on lee and cross loaded slopes.

Snowpack: The rain soaked snow and/or crust from Christmas Eve has been buried in most areas by well over one metre of storm snow. The bond to the overlying layers seems to be good. The storm snow that has fallen during the week is well settled in. Last night’s snow has formed a variable surface slab in wind-affected areas, but has remained unconsolidated on protected terrain.

Weather:The next significant storm will arrive Thursday night and Friday. The freezing level is expected to rise, so we could see periods of rain at lower elevations. In behind the storm, clouds and flurries should prevail for the weekend.

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