Map of an area covered by an avalanche warning, issued Thursday.

Special avalanche warning for much of B.C.’s interior ranges

Several near misses and changing conditions prompt an avalanche warning

With a growing avalanche hazard, several near misses and one fatality, Avalanche Canada has issued a special warning for recreational backcountry users to avoid avalanche terrain this weekend.

The warning from Avalanche Canada and Parks Canada is in effect immediately until the end of day Monday, Jan. 15. The warning applies to several areas including the Kootenay Boundary region, which encompasses much of the Okanagan, as well as the Lizard Range & Flathead, South Rockies, Purcells, South and North Columbia, Glacier National Park and the Cariboos.

Related: In an avalanche you have about 15 minutes to live

According to Avalanche Canada, the snowpack in these areas contains a number of weak layers. Recent snowstorms have buried these layers anywhere from 40 cm to more than a metre deep. The weight of the new snow has brought this unstable snowpack to a critical point, making it very easy for skiers or snowmobilers to trigger large avalanches.

Related: Snowpack sitting at 123 per cent of normal

“We have been keeping a close eye on these weak layers and the snow load that has been accumulating on top of them,” said James Floyer, forecasting program supervisor for Avalanche Canada. “It’s a complex situation and we are now at the tipping point. The warmer temperatures forecast for the coming weekend will definitely increase the chances of triggering an avalanche.”

There have been a number of near misses reported over the past seven to 10 days, as well as a fatal avalanche accident north of Fernie on Jan. 8.

“Many of these incidents are occurring in what is generally considered fairly safe terrain, such as relatively low-angle slopes, treed areas and even heavily tracked slopes,” added Floyer. “These conditions require expert-level decision making skills and we recommend backcountry users avoid avalanche terrain. The signs indicating you are exposed to avalanche terrain can be very subtle. If you don’t have the training to recognize them, please avoid the backcountry or hire a professional guide.”

For current avalanche conditions, check

To report a typo, email:

Like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter.

Just Posted

Vernon police investigating sudden death near The Rise

Woman, 37, found unresponsive in home early on March 15; taken to hospital where she died

Keeping the Okanagan on the Federal Radar

Kelowna-Lake Country MP Stephen Fuhr’s column

Reel Reviews: Fear or love

We say, “Once again, one worth seeing, one not.”

Two people safe after falling through ice

Kelowna Fire Department urges caution around icy waters during warm weather

Missing Kelowna woman sought

RCMP are asking for assistance in locating Christine Olsen-Meissnitzer

Your March 19 Morning Brief

Check out the top stories of the day in the Okanagan-Shuswap with Carmen Weld’s Black Press Morning Brief.

Most people in B.C. too ‘lazy,’ ‘apathetic’ to prepare for disasters: poll

Less than half of those surveyed aren’t insured for earthquakes and wildfires

Chris Hemsworth goes surfing in Tofino

The Australian actor donned a full body wetsuit to catch some waves on Vancouver Island this weekend

B.C. hospitals receive boost for dental surgery

Disabled people needing general anesthetic wait too long, Adrian Dix says

BCHL Today: Wenatchee Wild on the ropes and Smoke Eaters reeling

BCHL Today is a (near) daily look at what’s going on around the league and the junior A world.

Ex-Rockets and Alberta golden at nationals

Tyson Baillie and Cole Linaker help the Golden Bears to U SPORTS hockey title in New Brunswick

The Young’Uns member searching for stolen equipment

Kelowna - Tim Reardon said band equipment was stolen from his home outside of Lumby

True Leaf Announces Cannabis Cultivation Team

“Experts in genetics will lead the development of high-quality medicinal cannabis products,”

Heat drops two at nationals, Lea an all-Canadian

UBC Okanagan come up short at U SPORTS women’s volleyball finals in Quebec City

Most Read