UPDATE: DriveBC is reporting Highway 99 is now reopened between Soo Valley Road and Nairn Falls Park Road near Pemberton. Check www.drivebc.ca for updates.-----
Whistlerites woke up to a massive dump of snow this morning, and can expect the fresh powder to keep piling up throughout the day.
A Winter storm warning issued by Environment Canada yesterday afternoon is still in effect this morning, with snow continuing to fall heavy at times before changing to wet snow or rain this afternoon.
Another 15 to 25 centimetres of snow are likely by this afternoon, according to Environment Canada.
Freezing rain is also a possibility this morning.
According to Whistler Blackcomb, 41 cm of new snow fell over the past 12 hours, with another 30-40 cm forecast for today (find more info at www.whistlerblackcomb.com/the-mountain/mountain-conditions/snow-and-weather-report.aspx).
Along the Sea to Sky highway, the transition from heavy snow to heavy rain will begin near Squamish and progress towards Whistler today.
Travel is not recommended.
Posters on the Sea to Sky Road Conditions Facebook page are reporting snowplows and busses off the road and traffic at a standstill at Suicide Hill between Pemberton and Whistler.
Motorists are required to have proper tires when travelling the highway in the winter months, and can find road-condition updates at www.drivebc.ca.
Meanwhile, Whistler Transit has suspended the 99 Pemberton Commuter until further notice (find updates on Twitter @WhistlerTransit).
The public is encouraged to make an emergency plan and get an emergency kit that includes drinking water, food, medicine, a first-aid kit and a flashlight.
With massive snow dumps, municipal crews have a set strategy to work from when it comes to snow removal.
"Primary routes including transit and school bus routes, subdivisions, main access to the highway and Whistler Village and the day lots are cleared first, starting at 4:30 in the morning," Whistler Mayor Jack Crompton explained.
"Secondary routes are cleared starting from 10 a.m. until 1 p.m., and then maintenance of private roads such as those through strata complexes is the responsibility of private strata councils."
Depending on the conditions, some areas can turn problematic more quickly than others, but crews are well versed in the municipal road systems.
"During the winter, crews are available round the clock whenever necessary," Crompton said.
"Obviously there are locations around Whistler that are more challenging than others. Many of our staff have been around for a long time, so they understand the challenge well and are aware of how to respond."
Stay up to date at www.weather.gc.ca/warnings.
Check back with Pique for updates.