Weekend conditions update — Feb 12.

Every weekend SPIN will compile the current avalanche forecasts and weather for the Interior. As a reminder, we’ve pulled this information together for a convenient overview to help make your initial plans and recommend reading the full avalanche forecast, and checking and assessing conditions on your own specific to your unique location. Tune in at the end of each week to get the forecast before your weekend adventures begin!

We’re not out of the cold…yet 

Weather forecast

The pesky arctic outflow will continue over the weekend with frigid temps while a weak surface trough attempts to break through but is halted and will only accumulate to a small amount of precipitation over the island, coastal ranges, and into the Kootenay-Boundary region. 

The Interior ranges will remain influenced by the high and dry weather pattern and will see no precipitation and mainly clear, sunny skies throughout the weekend until clouds settle in on Sunday.

Sun Peaks Resort (LLP) is forecasting a sunny day with a low of -22C and high of -17C for Friday. Saturday will be mainly sunny with late day cloud and a few evening flurries with a low of -26C and high of -13C. Sunday is when we’ll get the majority of our cloud with some sunny periods accompanied by slightly warmer temps with a low of -19C and high of -12C.

Avalanche forecast

A moderate danger rating will be the dominant avalanche forecast this weekend over all of the neighbouring regions including the Cariboo’s, North and South Columbia’s, and South Coast Inland.

It is important to remember that a moderate danger rating means there are heightened avalanche dangers out there.

Last weekend was a prime example when a touchy snowpack and changing weather conditions resulted in four Mountain Information Network (MIN) reports from the Coquihalla Recreation Area, which reported several avalanches that partially or fully buried skiers at or below treeline when the danger was forecasted as moderate.

Click here to read more from Avalanche Canada’s forecaster blog explaining recent near misses and managing moderate avalanche dangers.

Wind slabs are the main concern for the South Coast Inland this weekend at treeline and above on all aspects with the possibility of avalanches up to size two. The forecast gives a moderate rating at treeline and above for Saturday and a moderate rating in the alpine Sunday with a low danger rating at and below treeline.

Avalanche Canada also warned of a concerning persistent weak layer (PWL). A very large avalanche was triggered on the faceted layer at upper elevations in the north of the region meanwhile whumpfing was heard on the same layer in the Coquihalla area earlier this week giving rise to PWL concern.

The Cariboos, North and South Columbia ranges are forecasted as moderate in the alpine and low at treeline and below for both Saturday and Sunday. 

The main concern remains a persistent slab in isolated steep features which sits atop a layer of surface hoar, facets, and/or crusts buried 60-120cm deep on all elevations and aspects with the possibility of large avalanches.

Wind slab is the number two concern at treeline and above on all aspects with possibility of triggering sized 1-2.5 avalanches after moderate winds churned light snow on lee features and upper elevations.

Note that spatial variability is likely across the different ranges.

The Cariboos’ persistent slab problem indicates a weak layer of buried surface hoar down 40-70cm and the North Columbia persistent slab problem down 60-100cm deep on similar crystal types as those in the South Columbia.

Nevertheless, regardless of the differences in weak layer depth, any of those persistent slabs can be triggered by snowshoers, skiers and sledders and it is advised to exercise caution on unsupported slopes, carefully evaluate big terrain features including overhead cornices getting baked by the sun, and to be careful when travelling in wind affected terrain.

For the full forecast visit avalanche.ca.

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