Backcountry users will see a few changes this winter when they go to Avalanche Canada’s website to check the daily avalanche forecast. Forecasts for 12 regions across western Canada began on Monday, November 21, and will be issued daily throughout the winter season, the organization said in a statement.
In addition, it has created a new forecast region. The South Coast region encompasses the North Shore Mountains and the backcountry up to Squamish and east to Harrison Lake. This new region effectively carves the warmer, lower mountains out of the existing Sea-to-Sky region, leaving that region with higher, colder mountains and more glaciated terrain.
“This is good news for backcountry users,” Karl Klassen, manager of the Warning Service, said in the statement. “These changes have created regions that are more consistent in terms of climate and terrain, which makes it easier for us to be more precise in our forecasts.”
Hot Zone Reports are a new approach to avalanche safety that are running as a pilot project for the current season. Hot Zone Reports will provide information on avalanche conditions and general risk management advice for a particular area. This project will run in the Renshaw and Kakwa regions of the North Rockies, the Hankin-Evelyn and Telkwa regions of the Northwest Inland, and the White Pass and Wheaton Valley area in the Yukon.
These site-specific reports rely on data from the Mountain Information Network, Avalanche Canada’s online platform that allows recreational users to share backcountry observations. This information will be supplemented by data from weather stations and computer models of the snowpack. This pilot project was made possible thanks to funding from Recreation Sites & Trails BC and the Yukon Avalanche Association.
More layers of information are becoming available on the main map at avalanche.ca, starting with remote weather stations in Alberta’s Kananaskis Country. By clicking on the icon in that region, users can see detailed data on snowfall, air temperature, wind speed and direction, and relative humidity. The plan is to add more weather stations to the map over the coming season, giving users easy access to relevant and timely data from our forecast regions.