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Avalanche Canada matt.mueller, Avalanche Canada

Kananaskis Country Avalanche Forecast

Mar 14th, 2019 3:07PM

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

Avalanche hazard and triggers are influenced by heat these days. If the sun comes out, put loose dry and cornices on your list of things to watch for.

Summary

Confidence

High -

Weather Forecast

A more predictable spring weather pattern seems to be knocking on our door. Tomorrow's high is -8, but the sun will hopefully make an appearance which will spike the temps. Alpine winds will be 40-50km from the west. No snow.

Avalanche Summary

A few loose dry avalanches were noted in the Bow Valley today. In one observed case, the loosed dry triggered a slab mid slope. Probably a 2.5 all said and done.

Snowpack Summary

A cooler day than expected kept the snow dry for the most part. Solar aspects, especially around rocks or trees will probably have a hint of a suncrust by late this afternoon. Speaking of crusts, remember that there is also a buried crust on solar aspects. While not widespread, or thick it can be found on steep terrain. Beyond the predictable crust formation, we still have those pesky windslabs from the last couple of wind events. These range in hardness, but unfortunately seem to be everywhere in the alpine. And of course, we have the lower 2/3's of the snowpack that is still a delicate combo of facets and depth hoar. This is a CRITICAL layer as the spring temps slowly creep up. The buzz around the forecaster's office is the expectation of these waking up easily and suddenly. These avalanches will flow far and fast when they occur.

Problems

Wind Slabs

An icon showing Wind Slabs

Likelihood

Possible

Expected Size

1 - 2
Wind slabs are now buried by the fresh snow, but expect to find them virtually everywhere. They will be most sensitive to triggering in steep and unsupported terrain.
Caution in lee and cross-loaded terrain near ridge crests.Be careful with wind loaded pockets while approaching and climbing ice routes.

Aspects:

All aspects.

Elevations:

Alpine, Treeline.

Deep Persistent Slabs

An icon showing Deep Persistent Slabs

Likelihood

Possible - Unlikely

Expected Size

2 - 3
This layer is still concerning and could be woken up by a skier/rider in a thin shallow snowpack area, warmer temps with some solar radiation or a cornice failure. This problem deserves respect as any resulting avalanche will be full depth.
Be aware of thin areas that may propogate to deeper instabilites.Be aware of the potential for full depth avalanches due to deeply buried weak layers.Be aware of the potential for wide propagations due to the presence of hard windslabs.

Aspects:

All aspects.

Elevations:

Alpine, Treeline.

Valid until: Mar 15th, 2019 2:00PM