Backcountry recreationists urged to exercise caution as snowpack conditions change in BC’s Southern interior.
The Canadian Avalanche Centre’s (CAC) Public Avalanche Warning Service is urging recreational backcountry users to pay close attention to the avalanche forecast for BC’s coming long weekend. After an unusually quiet winter in terms of avalanche incidents, snowpack conditions in some areas of the province are starting to exhibit signs of instability that may catch riders unaware. The main regions of concern are the North and South Columbias, the Purcells and the Kootenay-Boundary region.
“We’ve been enjoying a pretty stable snowpack to this date,” explains Karl Klassen, Public Avalanche Warning Service Manager for the CAC. “But the snowpack has taken a change in the southern interior, and backcountry recreationists in need to adjust their travel habits if they have been riding aggressively. With the forecast calling for sunny skies this long weekend, we’re concerned that people will be hitting the big, steep slopes they’ve been riding without consequence so far. Avalanches are more likely this weekend than they have been for the past while and if the sun comes out and temperatures rise, the danger will rise with it.”
On average, 14 people are killed annually in avalanches in Canada. To date, there has been just one fatal avalanche accident this winter. “So far it’s been a pretty remarkable season,” add Klassen. “It’s our hope that we can all continue to enjoy the winter backcountry and continue to come home safely.”