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Special public avalanche warning for Rocky Mountains

A special public avalanche warning is being issued by Parks Canada and Kananaskis Country Public Safety for many of the mountain parks in the Rocky Mountains.

This warning is in effect from Friday, January 17, to Monday, January 21, and includes Banff, Yoho, Kootenay and Jasper National Parks as well as Kananaskis Country.

Although natural avalanche activity is tapering, conditions remain prime for human triggers. Warm temperatures and sunny skies will attract many to the mountains this weekend and these same weather factors will destabilize the snowpack during the heat of the day.

There have been numerous and very unusual avalanche events this season that have even caught professionals by surprise.

Parks Canada and Alberta Parks recommend that recreational back country users with little or no avalanche training or experience avoid avalanche terrain. Experienced back country recreationists are urged to travel on simple terrain. When temperatures are warmest and especially if the sun is out, all avalanche terrain should be avoided.

Koppang recommends that every person in a back country party have an avalanche transceiver, probe and shovel, and should have some training in recognizing avalanche terrain and safe back country travel techniques.

This season, there is a deep persistent weak layer at the base of the snowpack that has recently been overloaded by snow and wind. Avalanche professionals throughout these areas of the Rockies have seen numerous full-depth avalanches sliding to ground on this layer in the last week. 

Related information

Canadian Avalanche Centre bulletins

Parks Mountain Safety on Facebook

Kananaskis Country Public Safety on Facebook

Media inquiries