Deadly conditions in the backcountry

The Canadian Avalanche Centre (CAC) is urging backcountry recreationists to avoid aggressive, unsupported avalanche this week.

The Canadian Avalanche Centre (CAC) is urging backcountry recreationists to avoid aggressive, unsupported avalanche this week.

Areas of heightened concern are the Valhallas and mountains surrounding Slocan Lake, and the Kootenay Boundary, southern Purcells, and South Rockies regions.

“While we expect to see fewer natural avalanches, tricky conditions persist and there is serious potential for human-triggered avalanches,” says senior avalanche forecaster James Floyer.

“The temperature variations we experienced recently have made avalanches harder to trigger in some regions but many colder, north-facing slopes are still prone to human triggering, especially in the southern part of the province.”

The CAC advises recreational backcountry users to remain very conservative in their terrain choices, and stick to more moderate terrain. “If you trigger this layer, you are guaranteed to get a big avalanche,” added Floyer.

“Even if you see others riding steep terrain with no consequence, it doesn’t make it a good decision to do the same.”

Everyone in a backcountry party needs to carry an avalanche transceiver, probe and shovel and be well practiced with their rescue skills.

The CAC recommends that backcountry users take an Avalanche Skills Training course, and check the avalanche bulletin regularly to keep informed of conditions in their area.

More detailed information is also available on the CAC blogs and forecasts at ww.avalanche.ca/cac.

Beyond boundaries

A unique partnership between U.S. and Canadian avalanche safety organizations is issuing a challenge to skiers and snowboarders: Make a four-minute video that shows the proper preparation for riding beyond resort boundaries, and you and your film could become a role model for side country riders.

The contest will run during the last three weeks of winter, until March 21. The videos will be posted on Vimeo (http://vimeo.com/groups/knowthesnow). The final winner will be determined by a combination of most views and an expert panel.

Prizes include:

• A two-day trip for two at Monashee Powder Snowcats in the snowbelt of BC’s interior

• Two four-day Gold Passes to any resort in the United States

• Backcountry Access Float 22 airbag

The winning videos will be announced in late March.

To keep the momentum going, the project will continue through next season with expert editing help from Sherpas Cinema.  A final highlight reel will be created with the best video submissions and broadcast at ski events and major retailers starting in November 2014.

For more details on the contest, go to knowthesnow.com.

 

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