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North Rockies Avalanche Forecast - February 9, 2021

Bundle up! A true arctic outbreak is upon us. If you'd rather brave the cold than cozy up to a wood stove, then keep in mind that a persistent weak layer may continue to be reactive, in spite of the frigid weather.
avalanche-forecast

Bundle up! A true arctic outbreak is upon us.

If you'd rather brave the cold than cozy up to a wood stove, then keep in mind that a persistent weak layer may continue to be reactive, in spite of the frigid weather. The layer is most prominent around treeline.

Tuesday

Alpine - Moderate
Treeline - Considerable

Below treeline - Moderate

Wednesday

Alpine - Moderate

Treeline - Considerable
Below treeline - Moderate

Thursday

Alpine - Moderate
Treeline - Moderate

Below treeline - Moderate

Avalanche Summary

There were a few small human triggered avalanches reported around treeline near Pine Pass on Sunday. These failed on the recently buried surface hoar layer.

There were some other observations from throughout the region over the weekend that would suggest ongoing instability associated with that weak surface hoar layer. Reports ranged from whumpfs and shooting cracks, to visual observations of large surface hoar crystals

On Wednesday and Thursday wind slab development was noted in the Kakwa.

On Wednesday there were reports of numerous natural avalanches 20 to 40 cm in depth running at and above treeline. A southwest slope produced a size 3 natural avalanche. These avalanches presumably ran on surface hoar which was producing very touchy conditions. There are some great visuals of this activity in this MIN.

Snowpack Summary

There is about 40-80 cm of snow resting on buried surface hoar which is most prevalent above 1600 m. It likely reaches into the alpine too, we're just not sure how high it extends.

Below 1600 m this snow sits on a crust.

There are presently no deeper concerns in the snowpack.

Weather Forecast

TUESDAY - A mix of sun and cloud with isolated flurries / light southeast wind / alpine high temperature near -27

WEDNESDAY - A mix of sun and cloud with isolated flurries / moderate northeast wind / alpine high temperature near -28

THURSDAY - A mix of sun and cloud with isolated flurries / moderate northeast wind / alpine high temperature near -28

Travel and Terrain Advice

  • Shooting cracks, whumphs and recent avalanches are strong indicators of an unstable snowpack.
  • Approach steep open slopes at and below treeline cautiously, buried surface hoar may exist.
  • Fresh snow rests on a problematic persistent slab, don't let good riding lure you into complacency.
  • Be careful as you transition into wind affected terrain.

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A map of the North Rockies. - Avalanche Canada image