Backcountry Advisory 

Stiff windslabs, deep drifts

Backcountry Advisory

As of Wednesday, Jan. 18, 2006

Alpine: CONSIDERABLE

Treeline: CONSIDERABLE

Below Treeline: MODERATE

Travel Advisory:  Mild temperatures and very strong winds have scoured exposed terrain and loaded stiff windslabs into deep drifts and across most alpine and treeline slopes. Many slopes were cleaned out by natural avalanches during the recent stormy weather, however, those slopes which did not run pose a significant potential threat.

Avalanche Activity:  The past two storm cycles have triggered significant natural avalanche cycles. Testing following the most recent storm resulted in variable results. Many slopes produced little avalanche activity, while a few start zones produced significant slab avalanches. Accidentally skier-triggered avalanches have been occurring more frequently with the ongoing pattern of new snow events.

Snowpack: Approximately two metres of snow have accumulated over the last rain crust; this crust was formed on Christmas Eve.  Shears above the crust have been observed to be progressive and moderate to hard. The most recent storm resulted in a stiff windslab varying from 0.1 to 1 metre in depth. Shears under the windslab are easy but slow. A weak system is expected over night on Thursday and is likely to increase the hazard with new snow and wind loading.

Weather: Cool, unsettled weather conditions are expected with a low-pressure system expected on Thursday night into Friday.

Check out www.whistlerblackcomb.com, www.avalanche.ca or dial 604-938-7676 for daily updated avalanche advisories.

— Blackcomb Snow Safety

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