Today’s Poll

Avalanche conditions moderate to low but with an edge this weekend

Nelson Daily Editor
By Nelson Daily Editor
March 25th, 2011

By Timothy Schafer, The Nelson Daily

No more gloom and doom, let ‘er rip in the backcountry this weekend.

The Canadian Avalanche Centre is reporting moderately dangerous avalanche conditions Friday and Saturday, with the chance dipping to low on Sunday.

It is one of the first weekends in several months where the backcountry is safe place to play. However, Peter Marshall of the CAC is warning that periods of strong spring sunshine may trigger loose wet snow avalanches on sun-exposed slopes in the afternoon.

“Southerly facing slopes remain a concern due with weak layers next to buried crusts,” he said in his weekly avalanche report. “Keep an eye on solar radiation which can further weaken those slopes.”

Avalanche danger could quickly rise to considerable if sunshine and warmth weaken the cornices, he said.

There were numerous loose snow avalanches up to size two in the West Kootenay reported in the past two days.

These were primarily on steep south facing slopes in the afternoon, with some as loose dry avalanches on steep northerly slopes. Isolated cornice releases have also been observed. 

“Your safest bet is to stick to shady slopes that aren’t threatened by a large overhanging cornice,” said Marshall. “It’s the time of the year where it’s a good idea to start early and finish your day before things really heat up.”

He cautioned skiers not to be fooled by good traction on south facing slopes. Although the traction is enticing, south facing slopes require snow pack evaluation and terrain assessment.



Friday: should see mainly cloudy skies with a chance of flurries.

Saturday: a ridge of high pressure will maintain dry and mainly sunny conditions.

Sunday: light precipitation is possible. The freezing level should fluctuate between 1,200 and 1,600 metres. Winds are generally light from the southeast.



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