Ski Conditions

Ski Conditions

The ACMG Training and Assessment Program just completed the third Ski Guide Certification Exam of the season, in the south coast region. Below is a conditions report for the week.

The first half of the exam was spent in the Whistler-Blackcomb backcountry and the Duffey area. Classic lines included the Cayoosh North-Armchair Glacier circuit, Anniversary Glacier, and several routes in the Spearhead range. HS amounts on glaciers varied from about 200 cm in the Duffey, to over 300 cm in the Spearhead. The weather was predominantly overcast with light to moderate winds, and a total of 15 cm HST accumulated during this time. A wind event on April 8 scoured surfaces to the April 5 melt freeze crust in on ridge-like features in the alpine and treeline, and deposited windslabs on lee aspects. Where sheltered, the HST buried dry settled snow on north aspects. The windslabs were our biggest problem during this time, and we saw several windslab avalanches to size 2 in the WB area.

The second half of the exam was spent in Mystery Creek, where groups skied a variety of lines and aspects from the Mystery and Gravell drainages. Terrain included steep glaciers, chutes, treeline moraine features, and dense forest. Classic lines included the Hibachi glacier, the Hourglass, Samba, and Mt. Otis via Mystery Glacier. Probing showed 250-300 cm on glaciers in the Mystery drainage, and as little as 160 cm on glaciers in the Gravell drainage. On April 11, another storm produced 15 cm of HST with light winds. A warming trend began towards the weekend, with clear skies and rising freezing levels. With this came a widespread loose wet cycle up to size 2, and moist snow up to 2200m on north aspects. HST and old windslabs settled rapidly with these warming temperatures. Wet loose avalanches and cornices were our primary concerns, and were managed by limiting our exposure and travelling earlier in the day.

The Feb 1 PWL was probed 80-160 cm deep with a settled snowpack above, and was unreactive during the exam in all areas travelled. The trip started with excellent ski quality due to the fresh snow and cold temperatures, and it remained so on high northerly aspects by the end of the week, despite high freezing levels and intense solar input. Travel at valley bottom is difficult due to thin coverage, but it is worth the effort to get up high.

Anne Cayer-Huard
Kelly Cytko
Hannah Kendall
Thomas Harding
Matt Kallay
Seb Grondin
Donny McFarlane
Mitch McCambly
Jared Kesteven
Jasmin Caton
Conny Amelunxen
Keith Reid

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.