Avalanche Canada to stop forecasting 2020 season | Squamish Chief

Avalanche Canada to stop forecasting 2020 season

Organization ends warning service during COVID-19

The last forecast from Avalanche Canada this season will be on March 28 — a month earlier than usual.

The network of professionals who send the data that informs the backcountry forecast is no longer able to send enough information, as COVID-19 closes operations.

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A press release on March 24 said without the normal collection of information, the forecasts would not be accurate.

"We do not take these steps lightly," executive director Gilles Valade said in the press release. "Avalanche Canada is the national public avalanche safety organization and we take our responsibilities very seriously. But we feel it is essential that we work together and do what we can to avoid putting any extra load on our healthcare system at this time."

Like many outdoor ventures that have temporarily closed to reduce the strain on medical resources and facilities (and prevent the spread of the virus), Avalanche Canada said these concerns were a factor in ending the season early.

"We do not want to provide a service that promotes recreating in mountainous terrain, where there is often significant hazard," Valade said.

"Both B.C. and Alberta have declared a state of emergency. Our health authorities, as well as our Prime Minister, are urging people to stay home. This is clearly not the time for taking any sort of risk."

The Mountain Information Network, an online platform where people can submit their own backcountry updates of trip reports and observations will also be shut down, to discourage people from heading out in the backcountry at this time.

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