Conditions Report: Coast Jan 25, 2016
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Conditions Report: Coast Jan 25, 2016

Conditions Report: Coast Jan 25, 2016

| On 27, Jan 2017

Photo: Russ Mclaughlin  Rider: Julie-Ann Chapman. Photo taken on Jan 23 in Pemberton, BC.


The calm after the storm…  That was quite the week we just had, with insanely deep snow and touchy avalanche conditions. Now that the storm has passed and the snow is settling, the sun is gracing us with its presence! Yay! But with that sun, we are lured high into the alpine and tempted to ride big terrain… but, I would still stay cautious.

As far as the snowpack goes, we have a wide range of storm snow from last week (depending where you are in the Sea to Sky) of between 60-140cm. Storm snow rests on a varied surface below that is slowly bonding together. After the storm, we did get wind in the higher, bigger alpine. This is why I say to be cautious in big terrain. I would stay clear of wind-affected slopes and cornices. There have been reports of cornices breaking and triggering wind-loaded slopes in Whistler just two days ago.


Photo from JF Fortin on Jan 23 in Whistler, BC

Photo from JF Fortin on Jan 23 in Whistler, BC



Always make sure to always check the avalanche reports on before heading out into the backcountry. Please feel free to write your own report of what you have found and observed out there in the Mountain Information Network (MIN) on their page! This is a great tool to read about what’s been going on in the backcountry.


Reality check: Get out there and enjoy the snow while it’s still awesome! The sun is out and the snow is epic in the higher elevations, but stay cautious of cornices and big terrain that is wind-affected.


Freezing levels are going to stay pretty low (800m-ish) along with sunshine until Thursday, then they will slowly rise to about 2000m by mid-weekend. Let’s hope for a good reset next week, we will probably need it after this week.




Brohm Squamish – Seeing as I do not head to Brohm to ride very often, Brody Fourchalk will be helping me out with the report for this location through out the season. Parking is pretty much at the bottom now, just off the highway. However, this may change with warming weather throughout the week. The Black Tusk Club has now started charging for trail fees, help support the club! Grooming is underway.

Brandywine Whistler – People are parking at the bottom. Grooming and trail fee collection is underway. However, it’s still creek-y in the bowl!  Those creeks will munch you whole, so watch out! The new road to access Chocolate Bowl is open.

Rutherford Pemberton Ice Cap – The the snowcat is grooming the trail to the cabin every Tuesday and Friday evenings. The Pemberton Valley Snowmobile Club is now collecting fees.

The moulin (which claimed a life last season) is wide open just past Appa Lake (before gas drop) and is not roped off. It is right in the middle of the path where people travel. The ground dips down quite a bit before the actual hole, but if you are mock-chickening it there will be no stopping before. The Pemberton Ice Cap is like Swiss cheese, there are MANY moulins and crevasses open and are constantly changing, ESPECIALLY this early in the season. If you are a smart backcountry & glacier traveler then you are aware that these holes are expected and are actually everywhere! Always look in front and travel with caution.

The backcountry is a dangerous place and people shouldn’t expect for things to be marked off like at resorts. Everyone is responsible for his or her own actions back there. Take a crevasse rescue course, be prepared, and ride with people that know the area.

Hurley FSR Pemberton – Parking is at the bottom of the Hurley. The Pemberton Valley Snowmobile Club will be starting to groom the Hurley in the next couple of weeks. Please purchase your membership to support the Club, or pay the $20 fee at the trailhead. Heads up, a HUGE boulder has slid onto the road at about 34km. Backcounrty Snowcats has marked it off with red fence for safety! Thank you! Heads up as well, their season for cat-skiing has started, so please respect their zone and don’t go sledding there.

Now is a good time buy your local snowmobile club membership! The Pemberton Valley Snowmobile club will be doing weekly draws for everyone signed up for their season’s pass membership and is offering a discount for premium gas at AC Gas! Contest ends last week of January.



— Julie-Ann