Avalanche warnings were issued for parts of Alberta’s mountain regions Friday.
The warnings include Banff, Yoho, Kootenay and Jasper National Parks, where Parks Canada said the risk of avalanche was high.
“Numerous natural, skier-triggered, skier-remote and explosive avalanches have been reported over the past two days,” Parks Canada said on its website Friday. “Most were in the size 2 range but we expect them to get bigger as the storm and strong winds continue. Avalanches may run further downslope than expected, so be cautious of overhead hazard.”
Tim Haggarty — a visitor safety technician with Parks Canada – said people need to be prepared before heading out to the backcountry.
“We want people to be proactive with their safety and get the information you need,” said Haggarty. “Get the training you need, carry the equipment you need so that you can plan a safe trip and get home safely.”
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Longtime mountain guide Doug Latimer said he’s seen these conditions before and it ended in tragedy.
In March 2010, two snowmobilers were killed in Revelstoke after a similar amount of snow fell on top of a layer of old snow.
“We could see the snowpack was changing. It was cold and clear for a long period of time,” Latimer said. “Finally we had a big storm cycle and the snow basically started settling, getting stiff and sitting on a weak layer.”
Latimer added that the latest snowfall has him worried. He believes the danger will stay high for at least the next few weeks.
“You have a fairly stiff layer of snow behaving kind of like a sheet of glass sitting on top of ball bearings,” Latimer said.
In Kananaskis Country, the avalanche risk rating was “considerable” at the alpine level.
Avalanche Canada also issued warnings for parts of B.C. on Thursday.
For a complete list of avalanche warnings in Alberta and B.C., visit the Avalanche Canada website.
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