Potential for large, destructive avalanches in North Shore backcountry
VANCOUVER -- With just a few days left until Christmas break, snow is in the forecast for the North Shore mountains and Sea to Sky country. That’s great news for skiers, boarders and winter hikers, but it will also make the backcountry treacherous.
"A weak layer now exists in the snowpack that stands to be overloaded by the forecast snowfall that we’re set to receive over the next few days," said avalanche forecaster Colin Garritty.
"Not only the new snow might be involved in avalanche, but a much deeper curried weak layer could also be involved causing a much larger much more destructive avalanche."
That warning has North Shore Rescue team leader Mike Danks asking backcountry hikers to be prepared.
"Definitely having appropriate footwear. micro spikes are a must," he said after completing a snowy Grouse Grind. "An ice axe is a great thing to always have with you for sure"
As for the Grind, he’s not recommending it. "Honestly give it some thought if you're actually going do the trail because it’s not very user friendly at this time," said Danks.
Skiers and boarders should stay in bounds to avoid potentially unstable snow behind the ropes. "As soon as you get outside those areas you're getting into potential of uncontrolled avalanche terrain," said Danks.
He’s looking forward to his own winter break, but that could depend on how many calls North Shore Rescue gets.
"It’s usually pretty busy, and we really hope it’s not this year."