The forecasters at Avalanche Canada have extended the special public avalanche warning first issued on Christmas Day. Like the existing warning, this updated warning applies to the North Rockies, Cariboos, North Columbia, South Columbia, Kootenay-Boundary, Purcells, South Rockies, Lizard and Flathead, and South Coast Inland regions, and has been extended to include the Sea-to-Sky region near Whistler and Pemberton. This warning applies to recreational backcountry users and is in effect until Sunday, January 4.
“We had expected the problem layer to calm down by now but it’s still easily triggered,” said Senior Avalanche Forecaster James Floyer. “We have had numerous reports of skiers and snowmobilers involved in avalanches. Luckily there have been no fatalities, thanks to good self-rescue by the parties involved.”
Avalanche Canada recommends backcountry users stay on simple, low-angle terrain; avoid large, steep slopes; minimize exposure to overhead hazard; avoid travelling where other users are on slopes above; and re-group in safe zones away from avalanche run-outs until conditions improve. If you do not have the training or experience to assess avalanche terrain and local conditions, it’s a good idea to recreate in areas where the avalanche risk is professionally managed.
All backcountry users must be equipped with essential avalanche safety equipment. Everyone in the party needs an avalanche transceiver, a probe and a shovel every day. It’s equally important that everyone has avalanche training and has practiced using this equipment. If an avalanche occurs, the rescue is up to you. There is no time to go for help.