Backcountry users in B.C.’s Sea-to-Sky region are being warned of a rare “extreme” avalanche danger rating.
“We very rarely see extreme avalanche danger, but the Sea to Sky region is forecast to be extreme,” said Avalanche Canada in a warning for Friday.
The agency says people should completely avoid all avalanche terrain, warning natural and human-caused avalanches are certain.
The agency said “a barrage of intense storms” was forecast to dump between 40 cm and a metre of snow in the area around Whistler and to the west and south.
It says the result is heavy snow slab sitting on multiple weak layers buried in the snowpack.
“This fundamentally unstable snowpack structure remains a serious concern as new snow and wind add a critical load and increase the likelihood of triggering large and destructive avalanches,” warned the agency.
Several other regions of B.C., including the South Coast, South Coast Inland, Northwest Coastal, Northwest Inland and North Columbia remain listed as a “high” avalanche danger at the alpine and treeline level.
All mountain regions in or adjacent to the Rockies are listed as being a moderate or high avalanche risk.
Anyone thinking of heading into the backcountry should have an avalanche plan, including some kind of satellite-enabled communication, along with avalanche training.
The warning comes just days after two Alaskan snowboarders were killed by a slide in B.C.’s Tatshenshini-Alesk Provincial Park, about 160 kilometres south of Haines Junction, Yukon.