Be prepared for spring in the valleys and winter up high if heading to the mountains this weekend

·1 min read
A view south from Ha Ling Trail, near Canmore, in southern Alberta. The photo was taken April 15, 2021. (Sarah Rieger/CBC - image credit)
A view south from Ha Ling Trail, near Canmore, in southern Alberta. The photo was taken April 15, 2021. (Sarah Rieger/CBC - image credit)

It might seem like the worst weather is behind us, but Alberta rescue officials want to remind those heading out to the mountains that conditions can change quickly.

As more people hit trails and wilderness areas this weekend, officials say it's important to research and prepare for what you might encounter, especially for those less experienced in the outdoors.

Kananaskis Country public safety specialist Mike Koppang says that can include snow, ice, fast changing weather and even avalanches in alpine areas.

"Just as the volume of people starts to increase, we start to see more people having slips, trips and falls and getting injured and getting stuck in places and having to coach people down through certain terrain or actually having to go to help someone who's actually gotten injured," he said.

Koppang says that while the weather will be warm in the valleys, "it's still winter up high."

He recommends people do trip research, check the weather, pack proper gear and know their backcountry limits. He adds people also need to be bear aware and carry bear spray at this time of year.

Last year, provincial officials saw a large increase in Kananaskis Country visitor numbers and a jump in rescue-related calls.