Avalanche Forecast

Issued: Mar 18th, 2023 4:00PM

The alpine rating is moderate, the treeline rating is moderate, and the below treeline rating is low. Known problems include Loose Wet, Wind Slabs and Deep Persistent Slabs.

Avalanche Canada dsaly, Avalanche Canada


The March sun packs a punch and can quickly destabilize the snowpack. Be suspect of sunny slopes or overhead hazards like cornices during the heat of the day.




Avalanche Summary

On Wednesday, dry loose natural avalanches were seen from steep terrain up to size 1.5. A skier-controlled size 1 wind slab and several natural cornice failures up to size 2 were also reported. There are limited observations from the far northern end of the forecast region, however, a reactive layer of surface hoar buried under the recent storm snow was reported near the Homathko Icefield. On Wednesday, skiers found a reactive layer of surface hoar buried 65 cm deep below the recent storm snow, and observed natural avalanches to size 3.

On Tuesday, several skier-controlled slab avalanches (size 1.5) were reported on wind-loaded features at treeline and above. Dry loose sluffing was noted from steep northeast terrain up to size 1.5.

On Monday, several natural cornice falls were reported in the northern part of the region up to size 2.5.

On Sunday, a natural large size three, wind slab avalanche was observed. It started in a cross-loaded feature in the alpine and it may have stepped down to weaker buried layers.

Snowpack Summary

Daytime warming and solar radiation will promote moist snow surfaces, destabilizing the upper snowpack on all aspects upwards of 1500 m and higher on solar slopes. Cornices loom over ridgelines and may become weak during periods of solar radiation and warming.

A sun crust has formed on solar aspects. On more northerly and sheltered slopes at upper tree line and higher, 20-40 cm recent snow covers an older sun crust on steep solar aspects, and older faceted snow in sheltered areas. Recent southwest wind pressed surfaces and formed slabs on lee slopes at exposed treeline and into the alpine.

The mid-snowpack is well consolidated. There is a widespread weak layer of large sugary facets at the bottom of the snowpack. Recent avalanche activity on this layer has been confined to northern parts of the region in the Chilcotins. This layer remains a concern in shallow snowpack areas.

Weather Summary

Saturday night

Starry sky with increasing clouds. South wind 5-15 km/hr. Treeline low temperature -9 C. Freezing level dropping below 1100 m.


Mix of sun and cloud. Southeast wind 10-20 km/hr. Treeline high temperature +3 C, freezing level spiking around 1800 m.


Increasing cloudiness, and possible light flurries late in the day. East wind 10-20 km/hr. Treeline high temperature +1 C. Freezing level 1500 m.


Sunny and clearing skies. Light northeast wind. Treeline high temperature +2 C. Freezing level 1600 m.

More details can be found in the Mountain Weather Forecast.

Terrain and Travel Advice

  • Be careful with wind slabs, especially in steep, unsupported and/or convex terrain features.
  • Avoid sun exposed slopes when the solar radiation is strong, especially if snow is moist or wet
  • Pay attention to cornices and give them a wide berth when traveling on or below ridges.
  • In areas where deep persistent slabs may exist, avoid shallow or variable depth snowpacks and unsupported terrain features.


Loose Wet

An icon showing Loose Wet

Strong solar radiation may weaken the surface snow creating wet loose avalanches from sunny slopes during the heat of the day. Cornices are large and fragile. Solar radiation will weaken them further; cornice failures can also act as heavy triggers on slopes below.

Aspects: South East, South, South West, West.

Elevations: All elevations.



Expected Size

1 - 2

Wind Slabs

An icon showing Wind Slabs

Recent southerly winds formed wind slabs on lee slopes at treeline and above.

Aspects: North, North East, East, South East, North West.

Elevations: Alpine, Treeline.



Expected Size

1 - 1.5

Deep Persistent Slabs

An icon showing Deep Persistent Slabs

A layer of weak facets sits near the base of the snowpack. This layer is most likely to be problematic in steep, wind-loaded terrain where the snowpack depth varies from thick to thin. Especially in the northern part of the region around the Chilcotins, Birkenhead, and Hurley.

Aspects: All aspects.

Elevations: Alpine, Treeline.



Expected Size

2 - 3.5

Valid until: Mar 19th, 2023 4:00PM