As of Wednesday, Feb 19
The 30 cm. of snow that fell over the weekend has continued to settle and to stabilize. Initially following the storm we were seeing widespread human-triggered avalanches to size 1.5 that were running for the most part within the storm snow layers, but also at the new/old snow interface. The slab density varied depending on aspect and elevation, and in some protected terrain, it remained loose and unreactive. Over time the shears are tightening, but ski cutting is still producing some size 1 avalanches.
Keep in mind that the storm snow is covering a wide variety of old surfaces and that it is difficult to make any blanket assumptions about the snow stability. Treat each slope as its own entity you will find pockets of wind deposited snow that are still very reactive. Be cautious around terrain features that may have promoted the development of a thicker windslab. Use your pole to feel how the depth of the storm snow changes. Be prepared for the slab to fail and consider the consequences below should you go with it.
The forecast is calling for a series of systems to persist into the weekend. The added load could possibly produce a cycle of avalanches that run on the old Feb. 15 surfaces.
Cornice noses have grown and they are proving to be very fragile. Stay well back if you are moving along the ridgelines. Remember also that the sun at this time of year is starting to pack a bit more of a punch. The snow quality will tend to change during the day, even with the slightest glow of sunshine through the clouds.
Check for the most current information before you decide to head out. The backcountry avalanche danger is rated as CONSIDERABLE trending to MODERATE.
Keep in touch through www.avalanche.ca or 604-938-7676.
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