Avalanche Canada issues special warning for backcountry areas

A weak layer at lower elevations causes terrain below the treeline to be more dangerous than alpine

Avalanche Canada has issues a special public avalanche warning for areas around Golden and Revelstoke.

Effective immediately until the end of day on Sunday, February 10, recreational backcountry users are warned to use safe travel techniques and avoid avalanche terrain at and below treeline regions in the North and South Columbia, Glacier National Park, the Purcells, South Rockies, North Rockies, Cariboos, and the Lizard Range. Many of these areas are commonly accessed by skiers and snowmobilers in the area.

READ MORE: Two skiers caught in avalanche near Revelstoke

For a map of the regions involved, click HERE.

A weak layer at lower elevations has caused the snowpack below the treeline to become more dangerous than the alpine. Forecasters have warned that this unusual situation could catch some recreationists off guard.

“With this layer, the trees are not the safe haven they normally are,” explains Senior Avalanche Forecaster Grant Helgeson. “And identifying avalanche terrain in these lower elevations can be difficult. You need to be aware of smaller slopes like cutblocks, roadcuts, gullies or even just openings in the trees. This is where the weak layer will be a problem and where it’s primed for human-triggered avalanches.”

Many close-calls involving this layer have been reported over the past few days and with the coming weekend, more people will be heading out into the mountains. Avalanche conditions are constantly changing, and accidents have already claimed the lives of snowmobilers in the backcountry this year.

READ MORE: Dad, son killed in avalanche near Invermere

Everyone in a backcountry party needs the essential rescue gear—transceiver, probe and shovel—and know how to use it. Always check the current avalanche conditions on Avalanche Canada’s website.

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