5 Mar 2013

Avalanche off the south buttress of Blackcomb Peak. Not sure of the details but it looks like a solar induced slide yesterday au natural or else the people who skied in there set it off. Would be nice to know the details? For all  the skiers\riders who went that way today without any avalanche rescue gear, and I saw many people go there with no gear, take warning. Get your act together and get the right gear or stay in the ski area boundary, I do not want to have to go dig you out!!

Observed another avalanche south of Disease Ridge, not sure if it was yesterday or the day before, anyone with any insight to this one? There were tracks crossing that were fresh and some that were buried. There were no tracks at the top of the fracture line.

At 2284 meters the temperature was -12, winds were 10-20 KPH from the E. At 1650 meters the temperature was -8, no new snow to report. In the valley it was 0. Observations taken at 06:00.

For the forecast expect cloudy weather with some light snow for today as a weak front approaches our area. We could see 3-5 centimetres by tomorrow morning. An upper level ridge will bring unsettled weather to the area until Saturday. A mix of sun, cloud and the occasional flurry. A slightly stronger front should arrive Sunday night.

For the local updated avalanche advisory: Blackcomb Snow Safety

The Sea to Sky Corridor has gone through a very active avalanche cycle with size 1 to size 3.5 avalanches. There have been reports of large natural avalanches and skier accidental avalanches in the entire corridor.

Guide is killed in an avalanche near Haines Alaska: Group had 2 injured, one Ok

Avalanche Death Toll Rises: Austria

Missing persons report leads to search in Avalanche Debris: Switzerland

After what I saw today we need this at the Ski Area Boundary: Flathead Ski Patrollers install avalanche beacon check stations

Avalanche in Canale Holzer, lucky guys: Dolomites

On some westerly slopes there is a thin crust that will cause us some issues in the future, and is one of the layers producing avalanches 2 days ago. At this location the wind had stripped away the snow.

You can see the stress fractures in the snow, even into the wind slab. Facets underneath.

There was a lot of Surface Hoar growing yesterday!!

Where is your avalanche safety gear, are you really heading into Body Bag Bowl without it!!??

Showcase T Bar was delayed big time yesterday, forced everyone to access the glacier via the hike up to Horstman Peak. I chose to go the old route and skin to the west col of Blackcomb Glacier. Warmer and safer!!

Whistler is becoming the Chamonix of North America.

It was the busiest I have ever seen it heading to the Spearhead Peak and the East Col of Blackcomb Glacier. You would think after crossing all that avalanche debris you would be ski touring with your eyes wide open!!

Fracture Line on Holy Cow, just above the Blow Hole on the Blackcomb Glacier.

Skiing down a similar aspect off Disease Ridge.

Natural out of Banana Chute.

Here is an account of an avalanche in the Poop Chutes from yesterday afternoon, thanks Kary:

Dear Wayne,

You have always told us to stay away from sunny slopes especially in the afternoon... It was -9 in the alpine so I figured it wasn't a big deal... I was leading the group.....Get in... get out.... I was thinking. As I traversed across to the poop shoots I noticed alot of ski traffic above  me and was worried someone might put something on to us... and there it was .... I happened to come upon a very recent slide in one of the last shoots... There was a skier 40 feet above us with his peeps on receive and he was looking for someone... He was getting a signal....which we later learned was coming from his own cell phone. He wanted us to put our peeps on but we were ill equipped.....Fortunately, I scooted down between the trees and called down to the lower large group below to see if anyone was missing......They responded " no" .....which I told to those still above me.  Ryan had gone for a wild ride but was OK!!!!   It was a close call for a large group and I am glad I was not 5 minutes earlier or I might have gone for a ride myself!! Next time I will have my pack on and will not go into a sunny slope in the late afternoon.   Time of picture taken  2-3 minutes later...3:34 pm March 4th.....  Kary's account of the situation.

Last week I was talking about etiquette, when an avalanche is started above a group by another group that is considered bad behaviour.

Thanks to Jamie May for these observations and photos: 

Hey Wayne,

Cayoosh area yesterday. Crust to about 1400m. 
Above that ski pen 30cm, boot pen 60cm, made for great skiing below treeline.
Lots of activity from early in the storm visible on all aspects, top of Armchair Gl, Ottoman, Lazy Boy, even top of the cutblock.
Joffre and Cayoosh parking lots are not plowed.

Here's a couple photos,  and some from your work yesterday

Jamie May

Do we need more signs, perhaps a gate only allowing equipped people access is the answer. 

Not sure how to save the ill equipped.