Snowfall warning triggers avalanche concerns for Greater Trail

There is a snowfall warning in effect for Greater Trail and the entire West Kootenay until later today.

Better rosin up the shovel, the heavens are unloading on Greater Trail and its backcountry brethren.

There is a snowfall warning in effect for Greater Trail and the entire West Kootenay until later today, according to Environment Canada, and the potential for backcountry avalanches is worsening as a result.

The region should have to dig itself out of around 15 centimetres (five inches) of total snowfall when it is all said and done late today as a Pacific frontal system moves over the British Columbia coast and across the Southern Interior.

In the backcountry, the Canadian Avalanche Centre is predicting a “considerable” risk of an avalanche at the alpine and at the tree line into the weekend, with a moderate risk below the tree line.

Reports of avalanches were limited to relatively harmless natural wet sluffs on steep sun-exposed slopes, the most recent report noted, and dry sluffs with ski cutting on faceted shady slopes.

“Expect wind and storm slab avalanche activity to pick up with stormy weather throughout the forecast period,” the report read.

Old “stubborn, and fresh touchy wind slabs below ridge crests” exist behind terrain features in the backcountry in the West Kootenay, and in cross-loaded gullies.

The Centre was predicting up to one foot of new snow in the higher reaches of the region after the system hits today (or more in westerly “upslope” areas) with isolated flurries turning to light snow on   Friday.

Sun exposed slopes have been subject to melt-freeze cycles and all current snow surfaces will likely provide a poor bond once buried by the new snow, the report noted.

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