The Canadian Avalanche Centre (CAC) has issued a special avalanche warning to recreational backcountry users in British Columbia's south coast and North Shore regions.

This warning is for backcountry areas along the south coast between Pemberton and the United States border, and  takes effect from December 27 to December 29.

It includes the North Shore Mountains in the vicinity of Vancouver and Horseshoe Bay to Indian Arm.

The CAC said it is reacting to forecasts that the region will be walloped by a significant winter storm that is expected to arrive late on Boxing Day.

"The expected snowfalls in the region will overload an unusually weak early season snow pack," says James Floyer, CAC Public Avalanche Forecaster.

"This rapid rise in avalanche danger will coincide with the holiday period, just as many backcountry enthusiasts are expected to flood into the backcountry to enjoy the new snow."

Avalanches may continue to plague the area into the New Year,  due to weak layers buried in the snow pack. Conditions will be reassessed early next week and this warning may be extended if warranted.

Meanwhile the CAC said the avalanche risk in other areas will increase as the storm heads eastwards to Revelstoke and the Okanagan Valley.

Backcountry users are encouraged to obtain current information from the CAC's public avalanche forecasts, which are being updated daily during the holidays at or 1-800-667-1105.

For more information:  Canadian Avalanche Centre Public Avalanche forecasters can be reached at: