“I’ve never seen an avalanche view like this”: SAR member asks backcountry enthusiasts to stay home

With the avalanche view rated as extreme for the entire Sea to Sky mountain range, a search and rescue member urges hinterland enthusiasts to stay home and avoid the danger.

Avalanche Canada says there is an “extreme risk” – the group’s highest rating of avalanche warning – in the alpine, tree line and below the tree line of the Sea to Sky mountains on Wednesday after an atmospheric river storm raised temperatures that caused snow to melt.

“Large, destructive avalanches will occur Tuesday night through Wednesday. Do not mess with avalanche terrain,” the agency said in its avalanche risk bulletin.

Avalanche risk is also rated high for the South Coast Inland Mountains and the alpine areas of the North Shore Mountains.

Michael Coyle, a member of Coquitlam Search and Rescue, tweeted on Wednesday that skiers, snowmobiles and ice climbers should stay home.

“I’ve never seen an avalanche forecast like this,” Coyle said. “Today is a good day to take a day off and stay away from the hinterland.”

The heavy snowfall that turned to rain will release “storm plates”, and general conditions will lead to larger avalanches than expected, according to Avalanche Canada.

“These are the kind of events we usually see in the spring,” Coyle said. “Large, full-path climax avalanches chewing up forests.”

Parks Canada temporarily closed Highway 93 and Highway 1 between Revelstoke and Golden for avalanche control.

Wednesday’s avalanche outlook is even more intense than Tuesday’s, with several regions upgraded in risk level. Here are Avalanche Canada’s ratings for the intervals around Vancouver:

Sea to heaven

Avalanche

Avalanche Canada

South coast

Avalanche Canada

Avalanche Canada

The south coast inland

Avalanche Canada

Avalanche Canada

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