Helen Shoulder

Banff Yoho & Kootenay National Park

Stephen , Saturday 2nd January, 2021 8:45PM

We skinned up in the Helen Shoulder trees where it was snowing about 1cm/hr and an occasional wind gust could be felt. There was 5cm of new storm snow. At the treeline, winds were much more prevalent, and after skiing a short run on the NE side, we skinned back up to the treeline to dig some snow pits. NE aspect, CTM 13 SC failure on basal facets (Nov 5th layer?). ECT 17 RP at 42cm failure (likely dec 13th layer). While digging the pits, we noticed strong winds blowing lots of snow over the ridge above us. When skinning back up for another lap, we observed a size 1 natural wind slab avalanche on a north aspect, in the alpine. When skiing the burned, open, trees, we noticed very hard wind scoured on the ridge where we transitioned. This became powder on the run and lower down in the trees. We made sure to avoid the start zones in the alpine when skiing down and stayed to the edge of the avalanche path.

Snow conditions were: Wind affected, Powder. Weather conditions were: Stormy, Windy, Warm, Cloudy. We rode: Mellow slopes, Dense trees, Steep slopes, Open trees. We avoided: Alpine slopes, Convex slopes. Riding quality was good.

Avalache Conditions: Rapid temperature rise to near zero degrees or wet surface snow. Slab avalanches today or yesterday.

Source: Avalanche Canada MIN