Recent heavy snowfall over most of British Columbia has prompted authorities to issue a special public avalanche warning for most of the province's mountainous regions, including the Sea to Sky.
The Canadian Avalanche Centre (CAC) on Thursday (Feb. 20) warned of a “significant potential for large, destructive avalanches” in most forecast regions, the lone exceptions being the North Shore mountains and the Yukon.
The warning took effect on Thursday and carries through to Wednesday (Feb. 26), officials said.
A long dry spell in late January and early February, followed by heavy snow during the past week, has led to an extremely unstable snowpack, authorities said.
“That long drought left the surface of the snowpack in very bad shape,” said Karl Klassen, manager of the CAC's Public Avalanche Warning Service. “Now the new snow is sitting on one of the worst weak layers we've seen in a few years. That weakness is currently anywhere between one and two metres deep so when it's triggered, the resulting avalanches are very large.”
Would-be backcountry users are urged to check the latest conditions before heading out and to exercise caution and carry self-rescue equipment if they do venture out. For up-to-date information, visit www.avalanche.ca/cac.