Alpine snow conditions hold despite warm temperatures – The Rocky Mountain Goat

Curtis Pawliuk says the number of tobogganers has been surprisingly stable this year despite fears that visitors may not be able to find accommodation. /RMG FILE PHOTOS

Number of lugers tied with last year

By Laura Keil

With abnormally warm temperatures and rains turning the snow-capped hills into piles of slush, some may be wondering how the snow is doing in the Alps.

The rain below hasn’t translated to a ton of snow at higher elevations, said Curtis Pawliuk, chief executive of the Valemount Area Recreation Development Association (VARDA), but the important news is that the snow is there. always dry, not wet and heavy.

“Upstairs we’re doing good,” he said. “We are very fortunate to be one of the few places in the province where the alpine snow is relatively dry. Ride quality is still pretty good… It’s not mashed potatoes.

With any period of warm weather, there are always concerns about avalanches.

“Even just south of us there are rain crusts that are almost at the base of the snowpack and those are really dangerous,” Pawliuk said.

In the north, the weather was just a little cooler, so those rain events did not affect higher elevations, he said.

As of Tue. Jan. 18, Avalanche Canada issued a hazard warning of Considerable at alpine limit and Moderate at treeline and below for the three regions encompassing the Robson Valley: Northern Rocky Mountain regions , Cariboos and North Columbia (Monashees).

Avalanche Canada warns that these three areas have storm slabs and wind-loaded deposits and that there is uncertainty about the reactivity of a recently buried layer in northern Colombia.

“Approach steep slopes and convexities with caution at all elevations. Investigate the link for recent snow and watch for any signs of instability such as recent cracks or avalanches.

Sled numbers
Pawliuk says grooming the hotspots has been difficult after a week of above-freezing temperatures, but all trailheads remain open.

He says trail users for December were at the same level as last year, despite concerns that sleds might not find accommodation due to low hotel vacancy rates. Many pipeliners left town for the Christmas holidays, and many hotels told the Goat before Christmas that they planned to keep some rooms open to sleds.

“I don’t know where they all find accommodation, but there is a great desire to come here and they do.”

Pawliuk says it may seem like there are fewer sleds this year because users are more dispersed throughout the week, rather than everyone arriving on weekends.

“We don’t have those massive days, but we play the law of averages.”


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