March 24, 2016: Parks Canada, Avalanche Canada and Kananaskis Country are issuing a special public avalanche warning for backcountry users for the coming long weekend. The warning applies to Banff, Yoho, Kootenay, and Jasper National Parks, Kananaskis Country, and Avalanche Canada’s Purcells and the North Rockies regions. The warning is in effect from March 25 to March 28.
The main issue is a deeply buried weak layer that has recently produced large human-triggered and natural avalanches. While not obvious to the eye, large human triggered avalanches are possible, as are naturally occurring avalanches with triggers such as cornices or daytime warming.
Backcountry users without experience or training in avalanche safety and terrain recognition should avoid avalanche terrain this weekend. For those with experience and avalanche safety training, be extremely cautious in areas with thin snowpack, and limit your exposure by avoiding large slopes.
Avalanches can be initiated from a distance and can propagate across entire mountain features.
It’s also very important to avoid slopes threatened by cornices. Pay particular attention to where your group stops to group up and ride in avalanche terrain one at a time.
Everyone in a backcountry party needs to have an avalanche transceiver, probe and shovel. A two-day Avalanche Skills Training 1 course is the minimum training recommended for travelling in avalanche terrain. For current conditions, check www.avalanche.ca.