17 Jan 2021

January 17, 2021


     Avalanche awareness days at the bottom of the Blackcomb Gondola. There again Sunday as well!

     Overcast with valley cloud and fog.

     Busy morning on the Saddle.

      Exploring the terrain on the Peak Chair.

      Nice clouds to the South.

     Saturday Jan 16, 2021. 14:00 Hrs. -5 with a 10-15 KPH SSW wind. +3 in the valley.

     GOES image from Saturday afternoon.

      Thin high cloud.

     17:00 Hrs. -4 with a 10-15 KPH SE wind, snowing very lightly.

Weather Observations for January 17, 2021 taken at 06:00 Hours.

2240 meters      -6, Winds were 45-65 KPH NNE--Horstman Hut
2180 meters      -6, Winds were 55-65 KPH NNE--Whistler Peak
1860 meters      -4, Winds were 15-35 KPH S --Rendezvous 
1835 meters      -4, Winds were 30-50 KPH SSW--Round House
1650 meters      -6, 4 cm in 12 Hrs, 4 cm in 24 Hrs, Base 238 cm --Pig Alley
1570 meters      -6, 2 cm in 12 Hrs, 2 cm in 24 Hrs, Base 166 cm--Catskinner
  660 meters     +1, Valley Temp, Max temp Yesterday was +4.0, 0.5 mm of precip yesterday.

     As of 07:00 Hrs this am we have overcast skies and unlimited visibility.


A weak cold front has pushed through early this am in a Westerly flow aloft. An upper level ridge will begin to build in a North Westerly flow aloft. Overcast this morning as the clouds disperse and the ridge begins to push in for this afternoon. Unsettled weather for this afternoon with the FL dropping to the surface by tonight. The ridge strengthens Monday with sunny skies and inverted temperatures. A very weak frontal band will brush the area on Tuesday afternoon with some light precip and a mostly unsettled day, more on that in Monday's post. A dry unsettled weather pattern will be with us until next weekend. Guesstimates: 0 cm by Monday am, 0 cm by Tuesday am, trace-2 cm by Wednesday am.

     GOES IR image from this am.

   High pressure pushes into the area Today with unsettled weather. Mix of sun and cloud by the pm.

       High pressure builds on Monday with sunny skies and warm alpine temperatures.

      Low and high battle it out, unsettled weather with cloud moving in from the North.


     Two avalanche deaths in Switzerland. Article below.                                                      Net Pic

      An avalanche has killed a ski instructor in Courchevel, France. Article below.                  Net Pic

      An avalanche has killed a ski tourer on the Vallon de la Sach, France. Article below.  Net Pic

      An avalanche has killed a skier on Mt Elbrus, Russia. Article below.              Net Pic 

     Blackcomb Bowl Cornice control Xc Sz 2.5-3. No other avalanches observed yesterday.

     Some large cornice chunks in the debris. Be careful in Blackcomb Bowl in poor visibility.

     No new avalanches observed on Whistler. Fractured cornice on Whistler Bowl from previous Xc.

From Sea to Sky Advisory:

Avalanche Summary

Explosive control work targeting cornices on Friday produced results up to size 2. On Wednesday, there were reports of a natural storm slab avalanche cycle up to size 3. There were also several that stepped down to deeper weak layers resulting in very large (size 3-4) persistent slab avalanches. Check out this MIN describing a large cornice-triggered avalanche in the Blackcomb sidecountry on Thursday.

Last Saturday, a large (size 3) avalanche was remotely triggered by skiers on Cowboy Ridge near Whistler. The avalanche occurred on a north to northwest aspect at around 1900 m. The crown ranged reached up to 200 cm and was approximately 200 m wide. Check out this MIN for photos and more information. A similar avalanche was remotely triggered by skiers on a nearby westerly slope a few days before; check out this MIN for more info and photos.

Snowpack Summary

Variable wind effect in the alpine includes scoured windward aspects, sastrugi, hard slab, wind pressed surfaces over lower density snow and isolated pockets of soft snow in sheltered areas above 2000 m. Wind slabs may remain sensitive where they overlie surface hoar in sheltered terrain or a crust on solar aspects. A widespread surface crust exists below 1900 m.

The snowpack is currently quite complex. A layer of sugary faceted grains above a hard melt-freeze crust from early December may be found down 100 to 200 cm. Last weekend, several large natural and human-triggered avalanches on this layer occurred, with the hot spots being around the Whistler backcountry.

Near the base of the snowpack, there may be faceted grains above a crust from early-November, which was identified as the failure layer in recent sporadic avalanche releases. At this depth, avalanches are large and destructive.


      Nice looking snow on the Curl.

      Glide cracks on Chainsaw Ridge from Xc, linked charge on Bushrat.

      Lenticular Clouds to the West.

     That must have felt strange in a precarious spot.

     Slabs of snow.

      Black and white day.


Disease Ridge-Body Bag Bowl: Jan 16, 2021

Chief Pascal: Jan 16, 2021

Blackcomb Backcountry: Jan 16, 2021

Rohr: Jan 16, 2021

Spearhead Glacier: Jan 16, 2021


Powder Picker Jan 16, 2021: David Jones


An avalanche has killed a ski tourer on the Vallon de la Sache: France

A ski instructor has been killed in an avalanche: France

An avalanche has killed an extreme skier in the Elbros region: Russia

Avalanches have killed two people in: Switzerland

Mike Wiegele cancels season: Powder Canada

B.C. Adventure smart dropping by Whistler for Avalanche Awareness Days: Pique

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