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Danger in the backcountry; avalanche warning issued

The avalanche danger is on the rise in the Southern Interior, according to a special public avalanche warning issued by Avalanche Canada.
Image Credit: Contributed/Avalanche Canada
February 13, 2015 - 5:04 PM

THOMPSON-OKANAGAN – The unseasonably warm weather this week has the experts at Avalanche Canada warning backcountry enthusiasts about the risk of snow slides.

There have been a number of recent reports of large avalanches in the mountains across the Southern Interior, including the South Columbia, Kootenay-Boundary, Purcells, South Rockies, Lizard Range and Flathead regions, avalanche forecaster James Floyer says in a media release.

“The snowpack is being affected by unseasonably warm temperatures,” Floyer says. “This warming is stressing weak layers buried deep in the snowpack. We are waking a sleeping dragon in some cases.”

The special public avalanche warning is in effect from Saturday, Feb. 14 to Sunday, Feb. 15.

Floyer is hoping the cooler temperatures forecast for Sunday will lessen the avalanche risk.

“Cooler temperatures may make it less likely that a human could trigger an avalanche but the underlying issue — a weak snowpack — remains the same,” he says. “We are cautioning all backcountry users to avoid aggressive riding in alpine bowls and exposure to large run-out zones over the coming weekend.”

Avalanche Canada recommends skiers, boarders and snowmobilers stick to simple, low angle terrain, avoid big, steep slopes, minimize exposure to overhead hazards and regroup in safe zones away from avalanche run-outs.

If you don’t have the training or experience necessary to assess avalanche terrain stay in areas where professionals are managing the risk for you.

The avalanche warning also covers the mountain National Parks and Kananaskis Country across the border in Alberta.

For the very latest forecast information and conditions, you can check the Avalanche Canada, National Parks and Alberta Environment websites.

News from © iNFOnews, 2015

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