North Rockies Avalanche Forecast - January 15, 2021

New snow and wind Tuesday night has create new fresh and reactive wind slabs at upper elevations. There is still uncertainty with a persistent slab problem that seems to be most prevalent in the Pine Pass area.


Alpine - Moderate
Treeline - Moderate

Below treeline - Low

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Alpine - Moderate

Treeline - Moderate
Below treeline - Low

Avalanche Summary

No recent avalanche activity has been noted. Expect to see an increase in wind slab activity on Thursday.

Snowpack Summary

Up to 15 cm of snow falling in the south and west of the region Tuesday night came with moderate to strong southwest wind. This sits on previously wind-affected snow in exposed areas, soft snow and perhaps surface hoar in sheltered areas, and a hard melt-freeze crust or moist snow below about 1600 m.

You may find a couple weak layers of surface hoar in the top 50 cm of the snowpack, as suggested by numerous MINs in the region. This layer is expected to be found in terrain features sheltered from the wind, for example in openings below treeline or at treeline elevations. As the new snow forms slab properties, these layers could become reactive to human traffic.

Around 80 to 100 cm of snow rests above a weak layer buried in early-December which has created a persistent slab avalanche problem and a low probability/high consequence scenario. Depending on location, the buried weak layer is composed of surface hoar and/or a crust/facet combination. Reports suggest that this layer has become dormant in much of the region except for perhaps the Pine Pass area.

Weather Forecast

FRIDAY - Mainly cloudy with scattered flurries, accumulation 3-5 cm, moderate to strong southwest wind, alpine temperature -5 C.

SATURDAY - Cloudy with isolated flurries, moderate west wind, alpine temperature -6 C, freezing level 1300 m.

Travel and Terrain Advice

  • Be careful as you transition into wind affected terrain.
  • Be aware of the potential for large avalanches due to the presence of a persistent slab.
  • If triggered, wind slabs avalanches may step down to deeper layers resulting in larger avalanches.


A map of the North Rockies. - Avalanche Canada image
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