As of Wednesday, March 3
Light snowfall over the past week with winds from all directions has left us with varying snow surfaces in the alpine. The 6 cm of new snow we received on the 29th fell with almost no wind and cool temperatures. This snow has been modified on solar aspects with a sun crust up to 2 cm and surface sloughing on steep, rocky terrain with daytime warming. On Northerly aspects this snow remained cold and loose until the 2nd of March, when strong outflow winds pushed it to the Southerly slopes or put a wind skin on it. There was overnight surface hoar development on the 29 th ; this may still be present in sheltered areas but most of it will have been broken up by the outflow winds.
We have seen little in the way of avalanche activity over the past week with the snowpack settling well with the cool temperatures. Our shear tests have gone from the moderate/hard range to the hard/no shear range. With the winds early this week, expect pockets of windslab in the alpine on the lee and cross loaded slopes.
As always, travel near or below cornices should be avoided. With the wide temperature swings that can be produced by the afternoon sun warming the strength of cornices becomes suspect.
The backcountry avalanche danger is currently rated as MODERATE in the alpine and LOW below treeline. This is expected to increase with the arrival of forecasted winds and snowfall.
Conditions may vary and can change rapidly. Check for the most current conditions before heading into the backcountry. Daily updates for the areas adjacent to Whistler-Blackcomb are available at 604-938-7676, or at www.whistler-blackcomb.com/weather, where there is also a link to the CAA public avalanche bulletin, or call 1-800-667-1105.
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