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Out-of-bounds avalanche at Big White Ski Resort

Click to play video: 'High avalanche risk in B.C. mountains'
High avalanche risk in B.C. mountains
Avalanche Canada is warning the arrival of warm temperatures is making the snowpack in B.C.'s mountains highly unstable, and they're warning backcountry users to avoid hazardous terrain until conditions stabilize. Alissa Thibault reports. – Mar 15, 2024

An avalanche was triggered in an out-of-bounds area at Big White Ski Resort on Saturday morning.

The resort posted the incident on social media, saying it happened around 11:30 a.m., and was triggered by a skier in the Eco Bowl behind the Falcon chairlift.

“This incident involved three skiers and should serve as a reminder of the high hazards that are beyond the resort’s marked boundaries,” the resort said on Facebook.

“Thankfully, all three individuals that were involved are safe. However, this avalanche was large enough to destroy a motor vehicle. The avalanche hazard rating is high!”

Click to play video: 'Snowshoer rescued on Mt Seymour after being buried by avalanche'
Snowshoer rescued on Mt Seymour after being buried by avalanche

On Friday, Avalanche Canada says while sunny, warm weather this weekend is ideal for getting outside, it can also create very dangerous avalanche conditions.

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“Almost all of our forecast regions are (in) high danger for most of the weekend,” the organization said.

“Avoid avalanche terrain and exposure to overhead hazards.”

While explaining the conditions, Avalanche Canada said most of western Canada has been entrenched in a pattern of large human-triggered avalanches since the start of March.

“The culprit of these persistent slab avalanches is a weak layer above a crust that formed in early February,” it said.

“The behaviour of these avalanches is alarming, with many being triggered remotely, releasing in low angle terrain, and starting part way down slopes. These avalanches have persisted almost daily throughout March, despite the layer getting buried deeper and deeper.”

Click to play video: 'At least 7 incidents of people being caught in avalanches this past week'
At least 7 incidents of people being caught in avalanches this past week

If you do venture into the backcountry, Avalanche Canada strongly recommends the following precautions:

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  • Choose activities or routes that do not require exposure to avalanche terrain.
  • Avoid crossing below avalanche paths, including valley bottom trails that pass through runouts.
  • Remember that many avalanches have been triggered remotely from low-angle terrain.

Big White echoed those recommendations.

“Please do not go out of the resort boundaries if you are not prepared and knowledgeable about the conditions and have the proper equipment.”

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