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Backcountry Avalanche Advisory

As of Wednesday April 15

Alpine: Moderate through Friday

Treeline: Moderate through Friday

Below treeline: Low through Friday

The avalanche danger will increase with exposure to the sun and mild temperatures.

Travel Advisory: The 24 cm of storm snow that fell on Sunday and Monday was affected by strong NE winds Tuesday morning, resulting in some reverse loading onto more Southerly aspects. Elsewhere the surface layers of snow on direct solar exposures were moistened by the sun. Caution continues to be advised around any shallow rocky areas as this is where isolated large avalanches are more likely to occur. Give cornices a wide berth as cornice falls have triggered many of the recent large avalanches.

Avalanche Activity: Explosives and ski testing on Monday produced a variety of soft and stiff slabs to size 2.0 that were for the most part running within the storm snow layers, stepping down to the underlying melt-freeze crust on some slopes. Crown lines varied from 15-50 cm in depth with widespread propagation in some areas. Several size 2.0 skier accidental avalanches were also reported in the backcountry on Monday. By Tuesday the shears within the storm snow layers appeared to have tightened in significantly with size 1.0 solar induced surface sluffs being the order of the day. A few cornice falls on Tuesday on Northwest aspects produced the largest avalanches during this cycle, possibly approaching size 3.0. Within the past two weeks there have been natural avalanches up to size 3 and 4 that are suspected to have failed on the Dec. 6 layer. This early season weakness has definitely not gone away and it will likely continue to produce large avalanches periodically throughout the spring season.

Snowpack: No easy shears could be found in test profiles conducted yesterday. The persistent weak layers from December, February and March are all at or near their threshold. Stability tests in profiles continue to indicate mostly hard shears, but the sporadic large isolated avalanche activity is indicative of a more acute weakness.

Weather: The ridge of high pressure that is bringing continued sunny skies today will weaken tomorrow as a weak system approaches the coast bringing increasing cloud cover late in the day on Thursday, with cooler temperatures and snow flurries forecasted for Friday. Although the ridge is expected to rebuild over the weekend, we may get brushed by another system, the main energy of which appears to be headed for Northern B.C.

Conditions may vary and can change rapidly. Check for the most current conditions before heading out into the backcountry. Daily updates for the areas adjacent to Whistler/Blackcomb are available at 604-938-7676, or surf to where there is also a link to the CAA public avalanche bulletin, or call 1-800-667-1105.

- Whistler Mountain Snow Safety