December 31, 2014 - 9:29 AM
THOMPSON-OKANAGAN - If backcountry play is in your New Year’s plan be prepared, an avalanche warning issued to the public on Christmas Day has been extended to include the Whistler and Pemberton area, and is now in effect until Sunday, Jan. 4.
Throughout our region avalanche risk is considered moderate below the treeline but increases to considerable at the treeline and alpine levels. A buried weak layer of surface hoar and crusts have led to the considerable avalanche danger rating. According to Avalanche Canada there have been reports of skier-triggered avalanches throughout the region and avalanche control has been performed in some areas, including along Highway 1 in Glacier National Park.
“We had expected the problem layer to calm down by now but it’s still easily triggered,” said Senior Avalanche Forecaster James Floyer. “We have had numerous reports of skiers and snowmobilers involved in avalanches. Luckily there have been no fatalities, thanks to good self-rescue by the parties involved.”
Backcountry users must be equipped with, and should have training with, essential avalanche safety equipment including an avalanche transceiver, a probe and a shovel. It is recommended backcountry users stay on simple, low-angle terrain and avoid large, steep slopes. Watch for overhead hazards, including other users on slopes above, and plan to re-group in safe zones away from run-out areas.
The special public avalanche warning includes all the ranges in our region, including the Kootenay Boundary range and the North and South Columbias, as well as the North Rockies, Cariboos, Purcells, South Rockies, Lixard and Flathead, the South Coast Inland region and the Sea-to-Sky.
There is a chance of snow throughout the region beginning Thursday and lasting into early next week.
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News from © InfoTel News Ltd, 2014