2 Jan 2021

January 2, 2021


      Anticipation! Is it worth the wait?

       There were some good turns to be had. Mashed potatoes after it warmed up at lower elevations. 

     A quick break between fronts just before noon.

      Snowing in the valley Friday afternoon. It eventually turned to rain.

      A bit of a slurry by 14:00 Hrs in the valley.

      Friday Jan 1, 2021. 15:30 Hrs. -1 with a 20-50 KPH SE wind. 0 Deg C in the valley.

      Satellite image from the same timeframe.

Weather Observations for January 2, 2021 taken at 06:00 Hours.

2240 meters      -6, Winds were 30-60 KPH SE--Horstman Hut
2180 meters      -5, Winds were 50-60 KPH E--Whistler Peak
1860 meters      -3, Winds were 10-15 KPH WSW --Rendezvous 
1835 meters      -3, Winds were 15-30 KPH E--Round House
1650 meters      -2, 25 cm in 12 Hrs, 38 cm in 24 Hrs, Base 202 cm --Pig Alley
1560 meters      -2, 15 cm in 12 Hrs, 31 cm in 24 Hrs, Base 135 cm--Catskinner
  660 meters     +3, Valley Temp, Max temp Yesterday was +3.6, 20.6 mm of precip yesterday.

      As of 07:00 Hrs this am we have obscured skies, variable visibility and its snowing 1 cm per hr.


Another strong warm front is upon us with strong winds and periods of moderate to heavy precipitation in a Westerly flow aloft. The FL will drop to around 1300 meters, possibly lowering even more by Saturday night, when it dries up and we get a bit of a reprieve. Sunday is looking unsettled with a mix bag of mostly cloudy weather with some breaks and periods of light precip, the FL should hover just above surface. A weaker front arrives early Monday morning with fairly steady light precip and cooler temps, easing off by the afternoon. Tuesday will see a relatively dry day with more precip starting Tuesday night into Wednesday morning.  More on that as we get closer. Wednesday should be drier with periods of light precip. Likely heading into a drier and cooler pattern for later in the week. Guesstimates: 40-50 cm by Sunday am, 20-30 cm by Monday am, 5-10 cm by Tuesday am, 20-30 cm by Wednesday am.

     GOES IR image from this am.

      Vigorous warm front this am with moderate to heavy precip and strong winds. Trailing cold front.

        Dries out a bit Sunday, cooler temps.

        Another front for Monday with cooler temps.


      Body of second snowplough driver recovered in Spain. Article below.                                 Net Pic

           From Sproat MIN Report below. Active cycle with Na & Sa activity.   Laura Kroesen Pic

     Alpine remained closed on both mtns. Ltd Control work. Sz 1-1.5 Xe, Sc on Whistler.

      Ltd AC on Blackcomb, no avalanches observed but likely Sz 1-2 Na-Nc. Strong E-SE winds.

     Max gust yesterday at 2240 meters was 140.5 KPH East.

From Sea to Sky Advisory:

Avalanche Summary

Avalanches are expected to be widespread on Saturday.

At the time of publishing, reports indicated that there was a lot of avalanche activity on Friday. This MIN report really highlights these conditions.

There were numerous reports of natural, human and explosives triggered size 1-2.5 avalanches on Thursday. Most of these were storm slabs, but at least two of them were persistent slab avalanches.

There was a fatal avalanche in the South Coast Inland region (near the Sea to Sky boundary) north of Pemberton in the Railroad Pass area on Monday that resulted in two fatalities. It was reported to be a size 2 persistent slab avalanche on a west aspect, around 1650 m. The RCMP press release can be viewed here, and the Avalanche Canada report can be found here.  

A size 2.5 avalanche was triggered on Monday by a skier on Rainbow Mountain, which resulted in a full burial and, thankfully, a successful rescue. The avalanche failed on a 60 cm deep crust and facet layer on a northeast aspect around 1800 m. 

A natural size 3 persistent slab avalanche was reported on Mount MacBeth on Monday, check out this MIN report for details of this observation.

These avalanches highlight the ongoing potential to trigger persistent weak layers in the snowpack. 

Snowpack Summary

There may be as much as 40-60 cm of new snow between Friday night and Saturday afternoon, forming widespread storm slabs.

This new snow will bring recent storm snow totals to over 120 cm.

The snowpack is currently complex, and two concerning weak layers may be present in the snowpack: 

  • The shallower layer, around 60 to 120 cm deep, includes feathery surface hoar crystals. This layer may be found in sheltered terrain features at treeline and lower alpine elevations, but has been reported as spotty across the region. 
  • The more widespread weak layer includes sugary faceted grains that sit on top of a hard melt-freeze crust. This layer ranges in depth from 50 cm to 150 cm due to the wind scouring and loading the snow in different terrain features over the past two weeks. The layer has been reported as being widespread up to around 2000 to 2200 m. 

There have been several recent human triggered avalanches on these layers. 


      High Hazard at all elevations on Friday.

      Snow line was at 1000 meters for most of the day. FL spiked to 1700 meters Friday afternoon.

      Large stellar conglomerates in the valley before it warmed up.

     Snow has an amazing tensile strength. Density and Tensile Strength in Snow


Red Heather: Dec 31, 2020

Sproat Mtn.: Jan 01, 2021

Rohr Lake: Jan 01, 2021

Blowdown: Jan 1, 2021


Powder Picker, Jan 1, 2021: David Jones


Body of second snowplough driver found in avalanche near Asturias: Spain

Warning issued for human-triggered avalanches in B.C. Mtns this weekend: Avalanche Canada

Rainfall warning in effect for: Whistler

Backcountry skiers triggered more than 10 avalanches in San Juan Mtns this past week: Colorado

A deceased person found in an avalanche: Norway

Why Arva?

Arva is a family owned company that has the 3rd largest sales of transceivers in the world. They were around in the 80’s when there was just one other company providing transceivers to skiers.

Arva are continually improving and making new standards for the industry.

Probes and shovels are made with aircraft aluminium , an Arva probe is 13mm thick, most companies are 12 mm and weigh the same. Only 1 other company has UIAGM approval for guides shovels and probes. That other company has 70 m search radius on transceivers, same as Arva Neo Pro but $100 plus more expensive. Arva airbags have two separate bags, the canister is with much higher pressure than others for quicker deployment. Arva do not have a fan or any electronics to set off the airbag, but neither do Barryvox, Ortovox or BCA. 

Arva likes to support initiatives like Wayne's blog that help to educate local skiers and portions from all sales go to help keep the blog going.

This weeks Special Fund raiser for the Wayneflanavalancheblog is an Arva Reactor 24 airbag with canister, Neo Pro transceiver, Raid 240 probe and Axe shovel. Starting bid is $1200 plus tax.
Arva believes that you need 4 things to travel safely in the backcountry on skis:

1) Proper training with a guide, AST Level 1, etc, etc

2) Great gear, Avalanche Airbag with a probe and shovel, transceiver with fresh batteries that you are familiar with and have practiced search and rescue with.

3) Local knowledge of the area you are going to, this can be from Avalanche Canada, Wayne Flann Avalanche blog, etc

4) Make sure the other 3 are reliable!

Mike Dempsey
Your representative in Canada and the United States for ATMRECYCYCLINGSYSTEMS.COM and VORTEXDEPOLLUTION.COM in Canada

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