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High avalanche danger this weekend

Avalanche near Tumbler Ridge Sunday claimed a life

One week after seven people in the Northern Rockies were caught in three avalanches, killing one, an avalanche forecaster says conditions this weekend will likely be just as dangerous.

James Floyer, an avalanche forecaster with the Canadian Avalanche Association, says the unstable snow conditions that killed a snowmobiler near Tumbler Ridge Sunday will persist this weekend.

Specifically, snowmobilers and mountaineers would be wise to avoid high alpine areas, he said — especially north-facing slopes.

"This weekend, for a start, it looks like the kind of weekend you're going to want to be out in the mountains," Floyer said. "But we're talking about instabilities buried deep in the snowpack—nothing has changed that will make the situation any different than last weekend."

Floyer said that in many areas, up to two metres of heavy snow are sitting on a weak layer of powder from the fall.

Some of the avalanches last weekend were 300 metres long and 700 metres wide, he said.

The death of the rider near Tumbler Ridge was B.C.'s first avalanche fatality of the season. Alberta, meanwhile, has had two avalanche fatalities.

Floyer added that other backcountry terrain is much safer.

"There's a lot of terrain out there you can ride safely and have a great time," he said.

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