Whistler-area avalanche conditions 'tricky,' says expert after two recent deaths

·1 min read

VICTORIA — An Avalanche Canada expert says a recent cold snap followed by snowfall in British Columbia's south coastal region has resulted in unusual and tricky conditions in mountain areas frequented by backcountry enthusiasts.

Ilya Storm says last week's cold winds from the north and east, followed by weekend snowfall, has created slabs of snow that are not bonding well with mountain surfaces, especially in the Whistler area.

Whistler RCMP reported two deaths and several injuries after skiers and snowboarders were caught in separate avalanches in the Blackcomb Glacier and Brandywine Bowl areas.

Last December, two snow bikers died after they were caught in an avalanche near Pemberton, north of Whistler.

Storm says the current snowpack conditions are different than usual because the winds created new avalanche locations and he urges people to use caution out in the backcountry.

He says people can still head into the wilderness, but they must be cautious and know the area they are visiting.

This report by The Canadian Press was first published Feb. 15, 2021.

The Canadian Press