Backcountry 

Avalanche advisory

As of Wednesday, Dec. 13

Alpine: HIGH

Treeline: HIGH

Below Treeline: CONSIDERABLE

Travel Advisory: Severe weather is expected to affect our area through Thursday. High winds and heavy precipitation will continue to load lee start zones. We have observed wind slabs to 0.5 metres in lee start zones over the Dec. 9 ice crust and expect this to build in sheltered areas.

Avalanche Activity: Stability tests resulted in size 1 to 2 slab avalanches up to 50 cm deep with explosive testing and ski cutting on Tuesday. It is believed that many steep lee features ran naturally through the storm prior to testing.

Snowpack: The snowpack is extremely variable due to the fluctuating freezing levels and winds during the past week. Continued strong winds and heavy precipitation are expected with periods of warming. Depending on aspect and elevation the upper layers will display an assortment of melt-freeze crusts with this new wind-affected storm snow over top. A significant but thin ice crust is buried below this week's storm snow in most start zones. Lower down in the snowpack is well settled and we are not finding any significant shears. Many start zones are still not very filled in due to the strong winds which have likely deposited the snow further down the slopes.

Weather: A series of intense fronts are passing through our area through Thursday. Calmer weather is expected late in the week and we will see exactly what has happened when things settle down.

Remember that there are still many exposed early season hazards so take it easy out there. Watch for winch cats and snowmobile traffic if you re-enter the ski area after operating hours. Call 604-938-7676 or surf to avalanche.ca or whistlerblackcomb.com for more information.

– Blackcomb Snow Safety

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