Avalanche Forecast

Issued: Jan 19th, 2024 4:00PM

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

Avalanche Canada PW, Avalanche Canada


Carefully asses wind loaded features in the alpine and exposed areas of treeline. If triggered these layers could wake up the deeper layers of the snowpack.

Extreme terrain has been actively been producing small natural avalanches as well. Be mindful of the overhead hazard.



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Avalanche Summary

Ski hills are reporting results on the basal facets up to size 3. Additionally, windslabs have been reactive to skier traffic as well as explosives up to size 1.

Within the last 24-48h there have also been numerous natural avalanches out extreme terrain to size 1.5, loose dry as well as windslabs.

Snowpack Summary

10-20 cm of recent snow have formed windslab's in the alpine and exposed areas of treeline. 30-50 cm overlies the Dec. 31 surface hoar/sun crust. Below this, in the mid-pack, two crusts (Dec. 22 and Dec. 5) exist as high as 2350m and have been providing the primary support for skiing. The base of the snowpack remains weak with depth hoar and facets.

Banff Visitor Safety dug a snow profile around Sunshine ski hill for more details.

Weather Summary

Saturday will bring scattered flurries and mod to strong SW winds. Valley bottom temperatures will rise to around -8.

Sunday should be slightly warmer than Saturday, with -6 as the high at valley bottom. 2-5 cm of snow is being forecast as well with strong southerly winds.

For more information, click here for the Mountain Weather Forecast.

Terrain and Travel Advice

  • Watch for newly formed and reactive wind slabs as you transition into wind affected terrain.


Wind Slabs

An icon showing Wind Slabs

With stronger winds forecast for Friday and lots of snow available for transport, fresh and reactive wind slabs can be expected in the alpine and open areas near treeline.

Aspects: All aspects.

Elevations: Alpine, Treeline.



Expected Size

1 - 2

Loose Dry

An icon showing Loose Dry

Increased SW winds may result in dry loose avalanches out of steep alpine terrain. Avalanches likely will be small, but will be a concern if funneled into a terrain trap or gully.

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

Elevations: Alpine.



Expected Size

1 - 1.5

Deep Persistent Slabs

An icon showing Deep Persistent Slabs

The base of the snowpack consists of weak facets and depth hoar. There has not been much recent activity on this layer but forecasters are still warry of this problem. Use caution in steep terrain, large planar slopes, and thin areas where failures on these basal facets are more likely to propagate.

Aspects: All aspects.

Elevations: Alpine, Treeline.


Unlikely - Possible

Expected Size

1.5 - 2.5

Valid until: Jan 20th, 2024 4:00PM