Be cautious if you are planning on spending time in the backcountry this weekend. Avalanche Canada has issued a Special Public Avalanche Warning for the Lizard Range & Flathead, South Rockies, Purcells, Kootenay Boundary, South & North Columbia, Cariboos, and North Rockies. Sun Peaks falls within the warning area. For a map of the regions involved, click here.
“The snowpack in these areas contains a complex mix of weak layers. The weight of the new snow from nearly three weeks of constant storms has triggered many large avalanches in recent days,” read a statement released by Avalanche Canada. “Avalanche activity is expected to change beginning Friday when the current storm breaks and a shift from widespread naturally triggered avalanches to more sporadic activity is expected.”
Mark Bender, a senior avalanche forecaster for Avalanche Canada said “People might be surprised by how large an avalanche can be triggered and how far it could run.”
The release said many surprises or near misses have taken place in recent weeks and a fatal accident occured between Valemount and Blue River on January 30.
“Travelling safely in the backcountry for the next few days will require expert-level skills to avoid hazardous areas,” Bender said. “If you don’t have the training to recognize and avoid avalanche terrain, please avoid the backcountry or hire a professional guide.”
Parks Canada and Kananaskis Country have also released special public avalanche warnings for the weekend. Click here to learn more.
For current avalanche conditions, visit www.avalanche.ca.