‘Your life is not worth that day of powder skiing’: Officials warn of severe avalanche risk.
This has been a deadly week in B.C.’s backcountry. On Monday two snow bikers were killed in an avalanche near Pemberton. Then on Thursday a backcountry skier fell into a tree well and died near Whistler.
“I’m taking some time off to let the snowpack settle out,” said Whistler skier Mike Douglas. “It’s gotten really really dangerous.”
When Douglas was touring with some friends in “safe manageable terrain” they released a slab.
This is a good week to stay out of the Whistler area backcountry. We discovered some very easily triggered soft slab sitting on a layer of surface hoar today. 50cm crown on 30 degree N slope at 1500m. Likely to get worse. Be careful. pic.twitter.com/it0I2OblZO — Mike Douglas (@MikeDski) December 31, 2020
“We kicked off a small slab avalanche with about a 50 cm crown,” he said, “it kind of spooked us a little bit, like wow it’s actually even more touchy out here than we thought.”
Avalanche Canada is warning this is not the time to be in the backcountry. They are reminding those who want to venture out, to check forecasts before going. There is a severe avalanche risk right now.
“We’re on the storm track right now,” said Ilya Storm. “Right now, in some ways, the decision making is easiest.”
Meaning just don’t go! Because the high avalanche risk rating means it’s natural avalanches are likely and human triggered are very likely.
“It is snowing heavily, the wind is blowing, you can see it, you can see the snow accumulate and there are obvious clues out there,” he said. “Snow hates rapid change. The rapid change is a person. A person on a snowmobile, a person on skis, that can be enough to tip the balance.”
Douglas said this is the time to ski in bounds.
“Your life is not worth that day of powder skiing,” he said.