Backcountry travellers warned about Vancouver Island avalanche threat

The danger of travelling into the backcountry has increased, with a high to considerable avalanche rating on Vancouver Island.

RECENT HEAVY SNOWFALL has made Mount Washington a paradise for skiers and boarders

As outdoor enthusiasts enjoy fresh powder with a blast of winter this past week, the danger of travelling into backcountry has increased, with a high to considerable avalanche rating on Vancouver Island.The Vancouver Island Avalanche Bulletin (VIAB) rated the alpine and treeline danger ratings as high on Tuesday, and considerable for Wednesday, while below-treeline rating as considerable for the two days.VIAB noted significant quantities of new snow will be moved by strong winds from the southeast to southwest. The storm slab is unstable due to 40 cm to around a metre of new snow falling from late Monday into Wednesday.They added avalanches will be from small in size to at least large enough to bury, injure or kill a person.Rob Hanna, president of the Mid-Island Sno-Blazers, a snowmobile association with the B.C. Snowmobile Federation, said conditions on the Island are excellent, but only for those trained and prepared for the weather.”There was some really great conditions; the snow was beautiful, the weather was good, but we went out knowing the avalanche warning was high,” he noted.Hanna, along with his wife, are certified snowmobile instructors, and have taken avalanche training with the Canadian Avalanche Centre.”Safety is paramount,” he added. “With conditions like this — several days of fresh, large snowfalls — people should wait a minimum of 24, if not, 48 hours.”Hanna said if a snowmobiler or skier ventures into backcountry without proper avalanche training, “it’s a recipe for disaster. It’s like going in there blind if you don’t have any training.”He added snow conditions can be deceiving; although fresh snow may appear fluffy and light, it can present equally dangerous conditions as huge, wet snowfalls.”A block of snow the size of a fridge can weigh 1,600 pounds,” Hanna explained. “In a slap avalanche, there could be hundreds of blocks crashing up against each other. It’s like being in a traffic jam with Volkswagens coming at you.”Hanna suggested his best advice for those wanting to venture out in current conditions is to not ride alone, join a club, do not take avalanche warnings lightly  and be prepared (he suggests taking appropriate clothing, food, safety gear and snowshoes).According to VIAB, travel in avalanche terrain was not recommended Tuesday, and should only be considered by those with advanced snow stability evaluation skills and route finding skills on Wednesday. For more information on the Mid-Island Sno-Blazers, visit www.midislandsnoblazers.ca, and for up-to-date avalanche conditions, visit VIAB at www.islandavalanchebulletin.com.photos@comoxvalleyrecord.com

Just Posted

Former teacher returns to Port Alberni to lead Alzheimer’s Walk

Jory Mitchell celebrates his journey with late wife and her Alzheimer’s diagnosis

Pacific Rim National Park Reserve issues cougar warning at Kennedy Lake

Cougar encounter reported between Tofino and Ucluelet.

Deadline looming for North Island College scholarship applications

Students have until April 24 to apply for a record number of… Continue reading

BC Ferries to pilot selling beer and wine on select routes

Drinks from select B.C. breweries and VQA wineries to be sold on Swartz Bay to Tsawwassen route

Hupacasath First Nation re-elects entire council for new term

Steven Tatoosh takes helm for fifth term as chief, talks economic prosperity for future

VIDEO: Alberta man creates world’s biggest caricature

Dean Foster is trying to break the world record for a radio show contest

Chaos at the ferry terminal for people heading from Vancouver to the Island

Easter crowds create backlog at Tsawwassen ferry terminal

B.C. RCMP receive application for Police Cat Services

RCMP announced the launch of the Police Cat Services unit as an April fools joke

Kirkland Signature veggie burgers recalled due to possible metal fragments

Recalled products came in 1.7 kg packages with a best before date of Apr. 23, 2019

Parents of 13 who tortured children get life after hearing victims

One of their daughters fled their home and pleaded for help to a 911 operator

Flooding, climate change force Quebecers to rethink relationship with water

Compensation for victims of recurring floods limit to 50% of a home’s value, or a maximum of $100,000

Storms blast South, where tornadoes threaten several states

9.7 million people in the Carolinas and Virginia at a moderate risk of severe weather

Private cargo ship brings Easter feast to the space station

There are three Americans two Russians and one Canadian living on the space station

Notre Dame rector: “Computer glitch” possible fire culprit

The fire burned through the lattice of oak beams supporting the monument’s vaulted stone ceiling

Most Read