Christmas arrived overnight for skiers, snowboarders and sled riders. Through the overnight hours Whistler Blackcomb measured 49 centimetres of snow.
Forecasters predicted the fresh powder and news of the arrival spread quickly. Outdoor enthusiasts from points south clogged Highway 99. By opening time at WB northbound drivers coming to the resort reported significant volume delays south of Whistler. Drivers indicated it took 15 to 20 minutes to get from the bottom of Powerline Hill to Function Junction.
The overnight storm brought the snow base above 160cm at the Pig Alley weather station on Whistler Mountain.
There's more snow in the forecast and this has the Canadian Avalanche Centre (CAC) warning backcountry visitors to take care.
Saturday morning the CAC posted this warning: “Travel in avalanche terrain is not recommended.”
The avalanche danger around Whistler is rated from Extreme to Considerable in the alpine with the danger easing through the weekend.
“Saturday's storm loading will be the first big "shock" for weak sugar snow which formed during December's cold snap,” the CAC notes. “Where this weakness exists, there is potential for very large and destructive avalanches.”
The big snowfall dropped 45cm of new snow on the Callaghan Valley. Cross-country skiers are being advised by Callaghan Country to use glide wax because the snow is soft and sticky.
The Duffey Lake Road was impacted by the storm. Drive BC issued a travel advisory but it was rescinded at 9 a.m.
Road 40 is closed at Bralorne due to the high avalanche danger on the route.