Friday January 24, 2020

Sunday January 26, 2020
Saturday January 25, 2020
Friday January 24, 2020
Confidence: High - Weather models in agreement, Moderate field data available, insufficient Weather station data.

Main Concerns

Loose Wet, Wind Slab, Storm Slab - view Avalanche Problems for detailed information.

Travel & Terrain Advice

Natural Avalanches possible. Human triggered avalanches likely in the Alpine. There is a good amount of precipitation expected all weekend throughout Vancouver Island. Be aware as you move through the terrain for shooting cracks and signs of instability (including new avalanches) especially at Treeline and Alpine elevation bands. Convex unsupported terrain features in leeward (down wind) terrain would be an area to be highly cautious of when navigating through the backcountry this weekend. Allow for an additional 36-48 HRS before stepping onto leeward terrain (downwind) areas particularly if the forecasted precipitation of 30+cm of new snow AND/OR signs of snow transport by strong winds exists in your area.

If these visible and audible clues exist in your area, it will be important to find lower angle terrain (generally under 30 degrees) and or ski/sled in more densely vegetated (treed) areas away from these obvious clues of snowpack instability. Check the website ATES PLANNING section for Simple Terrain options on our website.

Avalanche Summary

Small Size 1 point releases and loose wet avalanches have occurred in the past 24hrs on very steep unsupported terrain, major warming and recent widespread rain events have saturated the snowpack on all aspects up to Alpine elevation.

Avalanche Problems

Loose Wet

Loose Wet Point Release avalanches on steep unsupported terrain adjacent rocks and/or trees. Expect snow entrainment to occur as the Below Treeline snowpack is very water saturated.

Wind Slab

Major precipitation in the form of storm snow and strong winds from the South could promote wind slab instabilities (particularly in leeward or down wind areas on Vancouver Island on Saturday and Sunday. Expect all Alpine environments in leeward/down wind terrain to be likely areas to trigger a wind slab avalanche on Saturday and Sunday.

Storm Slab

Major precipitation in the form of storm snow on Vancouver Island on Friday, Saturday and Sunday will cause instabilities in the snowpack. Expect Alpine (human triggered avalanches likely) and Treeline (human triggered avalanches possible) as potential areas to trigger a storm slab avalanche on Friday, Saturday and Sunday.

Snowpack Summary

Good quality snowmobiling and skiing will reside primarily at higher elevations this weekend on all aspects due to incoming precipitation and a generally elevated freezing level. Unfortunately, lower elevation bands below Treeline will likely hold a good deal of dense moisture laden heavy snow from Thursdays rainfall up to the Alpine and as the freezing level continues to hover around mid-mountain. The Treeline and Alpine environments, despite holding good snow this weekend could also present wind slab and storm slab potential as as we are forecasted to receive up to 30cm/1 foot of new snow or more each day this weekend and strong winds at mountaintop.

Snowpack Details

SurfaceStorm Snow and Wind Slab instabilities will exist at Treeline and Alpine Environments this weekend
UpperWell bonded and dense moisture laden snowpack
MidLaminated Crust that is increasingly more consolidated
LowerWell Settled

Past Weather

Despite a good deal of precipitation and cooler temps this past week, Thursday brought forth an elevated air temperature up to the Alpine environment on Vancouver Island. All lower elevation bands below 1,800M are now moisture laden from Thursday’s major rainfall event.

Weather Forecast

Friday 10 - 30 cm, Winds Moderate from the South, Freezing level 1400 meters.

Saturday 10 - 25 cm, Winds Strong transitioning to Light from the South East, Freezing level 1400 meters.

Sunday 5-40 cm, Winds Light transitioning to Strong from the South East, Freezing level 1000 meters.

Posted on Friday January 24, 2020 by Ryan Shelly

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