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Canadian Avalanche Centre warns people not to use the backcountry

The Canadian Avalanche Centre (CAC) is issuing a special public avalanche warning for a widespread area of the province’s backcountry. The warning includes the mountainous areas of the North Coast, the South Coast, the North Rockies, the Columbia Mountains and the Kootenay Boundary. The warning is in effect from Friday, Feb. 26 through to Monday, March 1.

This warning is similar to the one issued this past weekend but now affects a broader area, says CAC Operations Manager John Kelly. “The weak layers in the upper snowpack remain volatile, and the weight of a person or a snowmobile can easily trigger avalanches,” he explains.

“Much of the province will be getting snow and that will add to the load on these fragile layers. This hazard may be difficult to anticipate because the valley bottoms won’t receive much snow. But at treeline and in the alpine, it’s still winter and that’s where the danger lies. With this new snow, avalanches will definitely be large enough to injure or kill a person.”

The CAC is calling backcountry travel “not recommended” in avalanche terrain for the period of this warning.

If recreational users do go in the backcountry, they should monitor the advice in the avalanche bulletins. Everyone in a backcountry party needs to be equipped with a shovel, probe and transceiver and the CAC strongly recommends all backcountry users take an avalanche awareness course.

Snowpack stability changes constantly throughout the winter; backcountry users need to check the avalanche bulletin regularly to keep informed of conditions in their area. Avalanche bulletins are available at www.avalanche.ca/bulletins or by phoning 1 800 667 1105.