March 17th, 2017

Conditions Report: Coast Mar 15, 2017

Heavy, wet pow. Photo: Gary Klassen, Pemberton Mar 12, 2017


Would you like a slice of pineapple with that? We just got our first warm wave of the spring season conditions. Before Tuesday, we got a good amount of fresh pow. On Tuesday, freezing levels rose to about 2200m with lots of rain. Freezing levels are dropping back down today and going to be hovering around 1000m over the next couple days with some snow in the alpine (about 30cm in the next 4 days).




As far as the snowpack goes, there are a couple of dangers to take note of. The persistent weak layer that is down about a meter below the snow is still haunting us. Don’t think that because of this “wet weight” on top that it will crush this layer, it’s still there! Second is all this wet warm weather and precipitation. It’s a perfect recipe for loose wet avalanches on steeper slopes. And third is the new snow that has fallen with the high winds. It has created wind-loaded slopes and very sensitive cornices. Especially with this warming, I would stay as far away as I could of cornices or slopes with hanging cornices above. As freezing levels drop over the next day expect another crust layer to form on top now, with new snow falling on top may create another unstable layer…


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: Spring is around the corner but winter is still going strong in the alpine. Good travelling snow to be had but be aware of changing conditions at different elevations. Travel with caution as heightened avalanche danger ratings will go up in the next couple days…


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 at around 5km up the road, with some ice on the road, so be careful. The Black Tusk Club has now started charging for trail fees, help support the club! Grooming is underway. It was raining at the cabin today.

Brandywine Whistler – People are parking at the bottom. Grooming and trail fee collection is underway.

Rutherford Pemberton Ice Cap – Parking is still at the bottom for now, but may change soon with the rain and warm temperatures in the valley.The the snowcat is grooming the trail to the cabin every Tuesday and Friday evenings. The Pemberton Valley Snowmobile Club is 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 (9km from the Pemby Meadows turnoff). The Hurley is in pristine shape right now thanks to the Pemby Club for grooming! Future plans are to groom on Thursday and Monday evenings as donations & membership budgets permit. Please purchase your membership to support or donate the $20 at the trail! 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.



— Julie-Ann



Coast Conditions Reports