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Avalanche Canada forecasting elevated avalanche danger this weekend

A forecast system map of a snowstorm expected to hit the Northern Rockies on Sunday. Photo by Avalanche Canada/Environment Canada
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REVELSTOKE, B.C. — Avalanche Canada is forecasting that with a big snowstorm on the way to Northeast B.C. this weekend, that snow could cause the avalanche danger rating in the Northern Rockies to increase.

Forecasters at Avalanche Canada’s headquarters in Revelstoke say that low density surface snow and recent winds from the southwest have blown snow onto north and easterly aspects of exposed terrain. Officials say that on both Sunday and Monday, there is an increased likelihood of storm slab avalanches being triggered by the fresh snow that is forecast to fall, particularly if there are strong winds and/or temperatures start to rise.

“Small wind slabs were reported from steep, unsupported terrain on January 22nd,” said the organization’s latest report. “Explosive control just to the south of the region produced avalanches up to Size 2 from steep slopes with minimal propagation.”

Riders examining the snowpack at Silver Sands north of the Pine Pass. Photo by Avalanche Canada

At Silver Sands north of the Pine Pass, several notable layers were found in the snowpack. About 40 centimetres below the surface, riders found a decomposing surface hoar layer, that appeared to be breaking down and bonding. Deeper down at 65 cm below the surface, a melt and freeze layer was discovered with faceting that reacted in the hard range. The first layer had a CTM score of 15/19, while the lower layer had a CTH of 20/26.

The forecast is calling for roughly 10 centimetres of snow to fall on Sunday, with an additional 15-20 centimetres on Monday with strong southwesterly winds.

“There’s some good riding out there, but rein it back during the upcoming storms,” forecasters concluded.

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