As of Wednesday, Nov. 29
winds during the recent cold weather have redistributed the surface snow,
resulting in areas of windslab. These windslabs are often obscuring rocks and
other hazards and are reacting easily to skier traffic. A weather system is
expected to build more windslabs into alpine start zones by Thursday.
Windward areas are not well covered as the storms that brought
us all this snow came with very strong winds and scoured any exposed terrain.
Below 1,700 metres there is a noticeable rain crust below the
upper one half metre of loose snow. While this crust covers many of the rocks,
many rocks and holes are still lurking beneath the surface.
testing has been producing easily triggered size 1 slabs. Cornices are large
and unsupported and have been fracturing well back from the edge while being
Most of the
current snowpack came with two big mild storms in early November. These storms
left considerable snow in lee areas above treeline. They left a thinner wet
snowpack below 1,800 metres that is now found as a buried crust. Windward areas
have a much thinner snowpack than lee areas, especially in the alpine where the
depth can vary from 0.5 metres to 3 metres.
The recent north winds have formed areas of windslab in the
alpine that are lying over loose snow. Easy shears are being found below this
windslab. Moderate to hard shears in the mid pack are persisting at the various
layer boundaries. Isolated areas of small surface hoar may also be found below
Thursday’s storm snow.
The surface weaknesses have resulted in small avalanche
activity. Explosive testing has only resulted in isolated activity at the deeper
storm should give way to clearing on Friday and occasional cloud with possible
flurries over the weekend. The cold air should move out of our area by Sunday
and we can expect some mild weather systems by the middle of 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 avalanche.ca or whistlerblackcomb.com
for updated information.
Blackcomb Snow Safety