As of Wednesday, April 9
Another vigorous storm system has blasted through our area again this week. High freezing levels accompanied the better part of the storm, however we were lucky enough to receive 20-40 cm of snow as the temperatures dropped overnight into Wednesday.
A nasty upside down slab of moist, wind-pressed snow was laying on soft snow on Tuesday afternoon. This weakness of dense over soft snow may be the weakness that reacts to testing on Wednesday. The late storm snow of Wednesday morning may further stress this weakness, or, the soft layer may be compressed by the load and the cooling temperatures may tighten most start zones up.
In any case the wary traveller will exercise caution when travelling in avalanche terrain. The scouring due to the high winds of Tuesday may lull you into thinking that the snow is all blown away when you first look at the alpine. A closer look will probably reveal significant loading low in start zones, below cliff bands and in fun looking wind drifts. These drifts and slabs can react to small triggers low in the very start zones that looked scoured from the top. What's more, they can propagate uphill and result in large deep avalanches with significant destructive potential.
The old crusts of the past two weeks make for good sliding surfaces, and the buried wet snow at treeline and below have not recovered and may not be up to supporting much more weight. When the sun comes out it is just one more stress factor added to an already potent mix.
The avalanche danger rating on Wednesday, April 9 is HIGH, with natural and human triggered avalanches likely. Conditions change very rapidly at this time of year. Stay informed, keep your head up and don't take your safety for granted.
Dial up ww.avalanche.ca or call 604.938.7676 for up to date info.
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