Avalanche Canada has issued a Special Public Avalanche Warning for parts of British Columbia for the coming weekend.
The warning applies to the North Rockies, northern section of the Cariboos and the northern tip of the North Columbia Region. It is in effect from Friday, Jan. 20, to Monday, Jan. 23.
Avalanche Canada says the warning is the result of recent warm temperatures that have created a dense slab layer sitting on a very weak base. The combination has made for an unstable snowpack and it will be easy for riders to trigger large avalanches.
“It was unusually cold and dry in this region through December and early January, giving the area a very thin and weak snowpack,” explains James Floyer, the forecasting program supervisor for Avalanche Canada. “We have been anticipating this problem for a while and now it’s here. This week’s warmer temperatures and new snow have created a very dangerous situation for backcountry users.”
Floyer says human-triggered avalanches are likely in the region, but the problem can be managed through good terrain choices.
“With these conditions, it’s vital that riders make conservative choices in their riding,” he says.
Avalanche Canada urges everyone riding in the backcountry to have the proper equipment and training, including a beacon, probe and shovel; and an Avalanche Skills Training 1 course at minimum.
Avalanche conditions are rated at considerable in the alpine for most of the province, except the Sea-to-Sky, Northwest Coast, and Lizard Range, where the avalanche danger is rated high.
Visit avalanche.ca for the current conditions.