Backcountry Advisory 

As of Wednesday, March 26

Continued grey and snowy weather is providing us with ongoing great riding conditions. The down side to this is that the best riding conditions are usually the best avalanche producing conditions as well. Over 0.5 metres of new snow since Thursday have accumulated as stiff windslabs in lee start zones. Many such start zones are completely scoured at higher elevations, however, deep slabs are located in lee start zones well below ridge line. Luckily, in many areas the resistance profile of the upper snowpack could be described as right side up.

Several large natural slab avalanches have run throughout the corridor, while smaller pockets have been triggered on numerous short slopes. As long as the clouds hang in and temperatures remain reasonably cool, the skiing will remain good and the avalanche hazard manageable.

A fairly intense and unpleasantly warm system is expected on Friday. This will tip the balance toward instability and another widespread avalanche cycle. In the meantime it is likely that any loose surface snow that is lying on solar exposed slopes will quickly turn moist and begin to run when the sun comes out.

The avalanche danger rating for the Backcountry adjacent to the Whistler-Blackcomb ski areas on Wednesday, March 26 is MODERATE with natural avalanches unlikely and human triggered avalanches possible. Hucking your 800cc snowmobile off of a cornice into a deep pillow in the lee of a ridge does not count as human triggered. In fact, humans walking around on cornices could very easily cause large chunks to fail, which could lead to deep slab releases.

Keep up to date on the snowpack by doing snow stability tests on your own (with a shovel), reading the avalanche bulletin at www.avalanche.ca or calling 604-938-7676.

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