20 Dec 2018

December 20, 2018

    YESTERDAY:

    Snowline at 1000 meters, 14 cm new at 1565m, 17 cm at 1650 meters. Wednesday morning.

    A few breaks in the morning.

    Avalanche control was quick, Spanky's is skiing well.

    Even some blue later in the morning.

    Flurries most of the day, from 06:00-14:00 hrs 3 cm of new at 1565 & 1650 m.

    Nice breaks in the afternoon.

    Another awesome day.

    Wednesday afternoon.

    Intense frontal band moving onshore Wednesday night.


Weather Observations for December 20, 2018  taken at 06:00 Hours.

2240 meters       -3, Winds were   85-120 KPH SE--Horstman Hut
2180 meters       -3, Winds were 100-130 KPH S--Whistler Peak
1860 meters       -1, Winds were     30-60 KPH S--Rendevous
1835 meters       -1, Winds were     20-60 KPH SE--Round House
1650 meters        0, 17 cm of new, 20 cm in 24 hrs, Base 215 cm--Pig Alley
1565 meters       -3, 16 cm of new, 19 cm in 24 hrs, Base 149 cm--Catskinner
  660 meters        0, Valley Temp, Max temp Yesterday was +3.5, 2.4 mm of precip recorded yest


    As of 07:00 Hrs this am we have obscured skies, limited visibility and snowing 2 cm per hour.

FORECAST:

A warm front with strong winds and moderate/heavy precipitation will push through this morning with a Southwest flow aloft. We can expect a fluctuating freezing level with a warm moisture surge at various elevations. The FL has the potential to rise to 1800 meters but should descend to the surface by tonight, and we may get lucky with 1600 meters. Looking above at the temps from this am it certainly seems to be going in that direction. The cold front should push through later this am so we could see a drop in the FL later this afternoon. Weak mid level ridging for tonight into early Friday morning will bring unsettled conditions with some flurries. Another weak frontal band is expected by Friday afternoon with some light snow and the FL in the valley. Saturday is looking cloudy with some light snow and cold temperatures. A cooler pattern in a Northwest flow will bring drier conditions to the area for Christmas. Guesstimates: 35-45 cm by Friday morning, trace-2 cm by Saturday morning, 2-4 cm by Sunday morning, 5-10 cm by Monday morning.




    GOES IR image this am.


    Fluctuating FL with the low heading Northeast later this morning.


    Warm front 


    Trailing cold front.


   Fronts along the coast.


     FL dropping tomorrow to below surface.


   Brief ridging tomorrow.


    Another frontal band for Friday night.


    Weak front for Saturday.


    More weather on the way. (snow)



    AVALANCHE ACTIVITY:


   Avalanche control on WB yesterday produced Sz 1-1.5 Sc, Xe soft slabs. Sz 1.5 Cockalorum.


    Old Fx line on Surprise.


   Checking out the Fx line on the Shale Slope slide.


    File Pic, but Sz 3 Na  Disease Ridge on 18-11-03 MFcr observed on Wednesday Dec 19, 2018.


    Actual image from yest, be carefull out there, more loading more avalanches on this layer.


   INFORMATION & OBSERVATIONS:


   No line ups.


    Avalanche advisory at the top of GE Chair.


    Wind affect at tree line.


    Even mid alpine slope features are growing cornices.


    Rime at the top of the Peak chair.


    Rimed siding.


    Revelstokers skiing the third highest vertical.


From Avalanche Canada MIN Reports:

Lower Disease RidgeDec 18, 2018

Quick report: Dec 19, 2018

Chief Pascal: Dec 19, 2018



From South Coast Touring:

    Micheal Kennedy
   Skier Remote Triggered size 1 avalanche at Zoa Peak today. 60cm crown, ripped to ground in some         spots.The peak is getting heavily wind loaded today/tonight. Highly recommend staying off any                 unsupported snow. Best thing to do is completely avoid avalanche terrain.

From Terrace:
Robin Cecioni
Most of you probably already know that we had an incident yesterday tuesday december 18th in Shames Backountry.
I would like to share the story with you so everyone is aware of the risk and prepared for it.
At 11:45 yesterday we dropped into No Dogs (measured 2m of snow on the ridge, probably 1.5m recent), my ski partner was leading the way and fell head first in a tree well which I didn’t see or realised until hours after.
After a few turns I stopped to close my vents filling up with snow. Excited by the ski conditions, I then kept skiing until reaching the skintrack while whistling and calling for my partner. Waited a good 15min at the skintrack, not hearing back from him I supposed he stopped higher up on the skin track because the snow was getting heavy.
Made my way back up to the top of our run, waited a good 1/2h which is the time it usually takes us to climb this run, still no sign of my partner. I then decided to follow his track to see where he went, I quickly lost his track and ended up at the same spot on the skintrack, noticed that no one else than me went up the skintrack since my last run, I followed the skintrack all the way down looking, whistling and calling for him. Noticed no new tracks up, no skin track out of valley bottom and no signs of anyone else skiing around. With all the new snow and tree bombs falling off it was not easy to follow the signs. At this time I started to get worried…
Made my way back up again, got to the top of the same run at 3pm, contacted Christian with my Inreach to check if they saw him at the base of the mountain, getting this weird feeling something was wrong. I started skiing down the same run but this time with my beacon ON, it did not take long until it started to bip, now the big worries were here… I slow down and started a fine search, after less than 30sec I randomly hit his lost ski buried in the snow, next to me was a small tree cleared of snow, looked down and saw his blue jacket, triggered SOS on my Inreach and started yelling his name and digging him out from the downhill side. He was unconscious until I got his head cleared of the snow in around a minute.
3.5h have gone since burial….
He woke up and got out of the hole, he was buried around 2m deep head down at ground level and feet stuck in the tree. Quickly checked on him and started to warm him up with spare dry gloves, puffy, tuque and emergency blanket. Many cuddles were made to warm him up while I was communicating with the rescue team trough my Inreach. He was too cold to move, shaking, hyperventilating, and coughing a little bit of blood, no injury were found. Help was needed.
I then regrouped all our gear before dark and grabbed some wood to start a fire, was not easy but got it going. Plan was made with rescue team, too late for helicopter, rescue was on the way, ETA 4h and planning to spend the night here and wait for the helicopter.
After a few hours, conditions of the victim improved so we decided to get moving to stay warm, after communicating the new plan with rescue team; we followed the skintrack until we met SAR team at valley bottom and made our way out all together. We were at the lodge around 9pm.
All this to say that being prepared for the worst by carrying the right equipment and knowing how to use it definitely saved his life.
Be prepared to spend the night injured, and carry an emergency communication device is definitely a must! I used the Inreach for hours, sending around 20 texts and SOS in really wet and cold conditions with no problem, battery was at 70% when we got out at 21:30.
Also would like to add that we probably all have lost a partner while backountry skiing, most of the time being so excited we just keep skiing just hoping for the best, well this will probably never happen for me again.
Making a plan of where we are going, where we regroup and what to do if we loose each other would have saved hours of wandering around. Also thinking of carrying radios now…
Backountry skiing for around 20 years, I have been in a few bad situations, trained for avalanches rescue and first aid but never had to deal with a tree well burial. I guess this is the case for most of us.
Big thanks to everyone involved in the rescue, the community here have saved the skihill and lives more than once!
Please keep on the fun skiing, and play safe!


ARTICLES:

Avalanche Skills essential for backcoutry usersTahoe Weekly

West-central Montana avalanche danger rises to "High": Missoula

Snow and avalanche control closures for Hwy 1 today: Revelstoke Review

Snowfall warning in effect: Whistler

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