Ski Conditions

Ski Conditions

The ACMG Training and Assessment Program just completed a ski touring training course in the Lake Louise region from March 4-9. Below is a summary of the week.

The week started out with cold temperatures, overcast skies, moderate to strong westerly winds and trace amounts of snow. By midweek a ridge of high pressure brought continued cool temperatures with daily highs reaching -10 and lows of -20. Clear and sunny skies with calm winds and occasional light gusts from the SE. By Friday afternoon things had returned to more seasonal values.

Avalanche Activity:
There was a large natural avalanche cycle during and immediately following the late-Feb/early-March storm. We continued to witness numerous natural avalanches up to size 3 on all aspects and elevations. Avalanche activity continued through mid week and began slowing by end of week. The avalanche cycle primarily failed on Feb 3 MFcr, with some larger avalanches stepping down to ground on weak basal facets. Evidence of several cornice triggered avalanches were observed later in the week, after 2 days of moderate to strong winds. We observed widespread whumphing throughout the course.

Avalanche Hazard:
At the beginning of the week the hazard was high at all elevations. As the natural cycle tapered off the hazard went to considerable at all elevations but conditions were ripe for human triggering. When we wrapped up the course on Saturday March 9 we rated the hazard considerable in the alpine and at treeline, moderate below treeline.

We started the week avoiding all avalanche terrain and overhead hazard. We slowly stepped out into smaller terrain features and terrain where we could confirm that the overhead hazard had already avalanched.

GTS 3a students, Geoff Osler, Mike Adolph, Lilla Molnar, Todd Anthony-Malone

On The Map

These observations and opinions are those of the person who submitted them. The ACMG and its members take no responsibility for errors, omissions, or lapses in continuity. Conditions differ greatly over time and space due to the variable nature of mountain weather and terrain. Application of this information provides no guarantee of increased safety. Do not use the Mountain Conditions Report as the sole factor in planning trips or making decisions in the field.