Welcome back winter!

Well it looks like the snow is back in the hills and hopefully here to stay for the winter. We here at the Vancouver Island Avalanche Center are just as excited to get back out and play as we are sure you are, but remember to play safe and be well prepared before you rush out there. That means having your gear, making sure that gear is in good working order and gathering relevant and important information on weather and the snow pack. If things go as predicted we may begin to post bulletins as early as this coming Friday (fingers crossed that temperatures remain cool and the precipitation falls in good quantities). Current snow levels (as of today Sunday Dec 9th) are still low and the majority of mountain terrain does not have enough snow to be of a concern for avalanche danger at below treeline and treeline elevations. In the alpine especially where wind loading has magnified snow depths, one may find small pockets that have the potential to run. Be cautious if entering wind loaded zones in the alpine and or alpine like features at treeline. At this time our crews have not been out so we have extremely limited information on what layers may lurk in the early season snow pack. Be sure to spend sometime investigating what is going on in the snow if you plan on heading out to play. Remember to also be aware of early season hazards of the non avalanche related type like open creeks/holes and rocks/stumps lurking just below the thin snow. For those of you planning a trip up to the Mt Washington zone, remember that the ski hill does not allow ski touring on the resort downhill area. There are many large machines working the hill such as snow cats, staff snowmobiles and cable winch cats that do not expect public to be ripping around and Patrol may conduct early season avalanche blasting and control work. For your safety and theirs please stay off the hill. Instead head out into Paradise meadows and have a great time in nature. There have been a number of fundraisers to support the island avalanche bulletin already this year and our amazing Mt Cain Back country fest is still to come. A huge thanks to all of you that have supported us so far this season and we hope you and many more will attend Back country fest and continue your support of our “Island Bulletin”. Some good news came down the pipe this fall that Avalanche Canada will be receiving funding from the government, and while we VIACS hope to partner with AvCan in the future, at this point we are still 100% funded by you our users. So if you use the bulletin and like what we do, please feel free to donate at events or anytime by following the links on this site. Thanks and hope to see you all out there tearing it up and having many great magical winter adventures very soon.