The holiday break is prime time for backcountry adventures.

But Avalanche Canada says dangerous conditions exist in the Purcells. They say the snow-pack structure there is fundamentally unstable and simply needs a trigger in the wrong place, like a shallow rocky start zone, to fail catastrophically.

For that reason they have issued the following statements.

Don’t let the desire for deep powder pull you into high consequence terrain.

Stick to simple terrain and be aware of what is above you at all times.

Very large and destructive avalanches could reach valley bottom.

Be aware of the potential for surprisingly large avalanches due to deeply buried weak layers.


Dangerous conditions persist in the alpine and treeline regions. Natural avalanches are possible while human-triggered avalanches are likely.

Avalanche Canada also says, “With the addition of the new snow last weekend, this weakness has become overloaded and its failure has resulted in some spectacularly large and destructive avalanche activity.”

Backcountry enthusiasts should take the time and energy to practice careful snow-pack evaluation, cautious route-finding and conservative decision-making .