Avalanche Forecast

Issued: Jan 20th, 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 TH, Avalanche Canada


Things have changed, and temperatures have warmed up!

With warming comes the potential for increased sensitivity to triggering.

Watch for newly formed wind slabs and the potential for initiating the deep persistent problem in thin to thick areas.




Avalanche Summary

Lake Louise reported a couple of size 2 explosive results on wind slab stepping down to the ground on Jan 20.

On Jan 19 Sunshine reported explosive results on the basal facets up to size 3 specifically on an alpine southerly facing feature called Jaws (out of bounds)

Additionally, wind slabs have been reactive to skier traffic and explosives up to size 2.

Within the last 24-72h there have also been several avalanches out of extreme terrain to size 1.5, loose dry and wind slabs.

Snowpack Summary

10-20 cm of recent snow has formed windslab and widespread wind effect in the alpine and exposed areas at 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 (Jan 19) for more details.

Weather Summary

Sat night: M winds from the southwest will continue overnight with alp temp lows of -8 . Up to 5cm of precip.

Sun: L to M winds from the southwest with alp temps around -8. Cloudy with scattered flurries of trace amounts of snow.

Mon-Tues: Cloudy with 30 percent chance of flurries. Temps just below freezing at TL. Trace amounts of snow with light winds from the SW

For more information, click here for the Mountain Wx Fx.

Terrain and Travel Advice

  • If triggered, wind slabs avalanches may step down to deeper layers resulting in larger avalanches.


Wind Slabs

An icon showing Wind Slabs

Moderate to strong winds for the past several days have produced widespread wind effects and intermittent wind slabs in the alpine and exposed treeline. This includes a hard slab with the potential for wide propagation.

Aspects: All aspects.

Elevations: Alpine, Treeline.


Possible - Likely

Expected Size

1 - 2

Loose Dry

An icon showing Loose Dry

Increased southwest 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, depth hoar, and the overlying crust continues to break down. Use caution in steep terrain, areas with wind slabs (step-down potential), large planar slopes, and thin to thick areas.

Aspects: All aspects.

Elevations: Alpine, Treeline.



Expected Size

1.5 - 3

Valid until: Jan 21st, 2024 4:00PM