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Dangerous and highly unpredictable avalanche conditions

Highly unusual and unpredictable snowpack
Tucker Cooper, a member of the ski patrol at Eaglecrest Ski Area, measures an area where snow has broken off in an avalanche. (Courtesy photo / Calder Otsea)

The Province is urging people to be prepared and extremely cautious in the backcountry, with continued high and considerable avalanche risk forecast in many areas of B.C.

“Being caught in an avalanche is a life-threatening situation that has already claimed five lives in British Columbia this year,” said Bowinn Ma, Minister of Emergency Management and Climate Readiness (EMCR).

“Avalanche Canada continues to forecast dangerous snowpack and we’re urging everyone to exercise heightened levels of caution and vigilance in the backcountry this season. This year’s snowpack is being compared to 2003, which was one of the worst years for avalanche fatalities. Please check the avalanche forecast and follow any guidance from Avalanche Canada to stay safe,” Ma said.

READ MORE:2 heli-skiers killed in avalanche near Revelstoke

Avalanche Canada continues to monitor a deep, persistent slab avalanche problem for many regions. This is causing very dangerous and highly unpredictable avalanche conditions.

Avalanche Canada continues to encourage people to stay away from steep slopes and terrain, and to check: - for avalanche conditions for forecasts.

“This is a highly unusual and unpredictable snowpack. The complication with this snowpack setup is that the layers are deep enough that we are less likely to see clues of instability, like nearby avalanche activity, ‘whumpfing’ or cracking snow,” said Ryan Buhler, forecast supervisor, Avalanche Canada.

“However, despite the lack of obvious clues, there is serious potential for large, human-triggered avalanches. We urge backcountry users to exercise caution and make conservative, low-consequence choices if they decide to travel in avalanche terrain. Backcountry users should always check the avalanche forecast at: – carry a transceiver, probe and shovel, and be trained to use them,” Buhler advised.

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