Avalanche Canada issued a special public avalanche warning for the Sea to Sky corridor on Tuesday (March 24).
The warning includes the areas adjacent to the Whistler Blackcomb ski area, but not inside the boundaries, according to a press release. The North Columbia, Cariboos and North Rockies regions are also included in the warning, which will remain in effect until Sunday (March 29).
The "unusual" winter has created a "complex and unpredictable" snowpack, said Karl Klassen, public avalanche warning service manager for Avalanche Canada. "Avalanches are being triggered both in the newer, surface snow and in deeper layers that formed earlier in the winter," he said, in a release. "This challenging scenario is resulting in numerous close calls and led to two fatalities this past weekend."
Those fatalities occurred in McBride, Alberta.
Officials recommend that backcountry users stay on simple, low-angle terrain; avoid large, steep slopes; minimize exposure to overhead hazards and avoid travelling where other people are on slopes above you. They also say you should stay away from avalanche run-outs until conditions improve. If you're not an experienced backcountry user with skills to assess the conditions and terrain you should stay in-bounds only, they recommended.
"Everyone in the party needs an avalanche transceiver, probe and shovel every day," the release said. "If an avalanche occurs, the rescue is up to you. There is no time to go for help."
For the avalanche forecast and more information visit avalanche.ca.