Parks Canada has extended its special avalanche warning for Glacier and Mount Revelstoke National Parks. The extension is in effect until Wednesday, February 26.
The extended dry period during late January and early February has resulted in a widespread and extremely weak snow layer buried 1-1.5 metres below the surface of the snow throughout the Selkirk Mountains.
The agency said in a statement released Monday, February 24, that signs of snow pack instability such as recent avalanches or cracking and “whumpfing” sounds may not be obvious. There is a risk that skiers and snowboarders could trigger this weak layer, resulting in large avalanches with high consequences.
As natural avalanche activity decreases, Parks Canada is concerned that backcountry skiers and snowboarders will let their guard down and be lured by the fresh powder. Recreationists are encouraged to be very conservative in their terrain choices and to be patient; this weak layer will remain a problem for the foreseeable future.
Parks Canada recommends recreational backcountry users with little or no avalanche training or experience to avoid avalanche terrain, or undertake activities in which avalanche risk is managed by professionals. Experienced backcountry recreationists are urged to travel on conservative terrain such as small, low angle, well-supported features that are not exposed to large steep slopes or cornices. When temperatures are warmest and especially if the sun is out, all avalanche terrain should be avoided, including valley bottom runout zones.
If you do travel in the backcountry:
Ensure all members of the party carry an avalanche transceiver, shovel and probe; and
Check the daily avalanche bulletin for current conditions and weather forecast before leaving.
Please click here www.pc.gc.ca/glacieravalanche to view the avalanche bulletin for Glacier National Park.
Daily bulletins for the mountain national parks as well as other areas are also posted at: www.avalanche.ca.
For updates on current avalanche observations please go to facebook.com/ParksMountainSafety.
The Canadian Avalanche Centre has also issued a Special Public Avalanche Warning notice.
For more information click on “bulletins” at avalanche.ca/cac.