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A Different Type of Snowpack 

It’s been an unusual winter for much of western Canada. This year’s snowpack presents a different set of problems than normal. Weak layers exist in much of the interior, making the snowpack dangerous and unpredictable. Our forecasters and field teams have done a tremendous job communicating conditions and sharing travel and terrain advice. Matching your goals to the conditions is one of the most important skills in backcountry travel and it becomes even more important when the conditions are difficult. If you’re heading out, making conservative terrain choices and leaving a wider margin for error is essential. Here are some strategies our AvCan forecasters use to manage persistent slab problems. 

We hope the rest of this winter sees a return to typical seasonal weather, with more snow and less rain. Keep reading to learn more. 

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In this issue:

Newfoundland Forecasts 
Foundation Fundraiser Winners
Avalanche Awareness Days
Upcoming Webinars

Forecasters’ Blog Highlights
AvCan Caps
Partner Profile: Arc’teryx

Newfoundland Forecasts Starting Soon 

Avalanche Canada will begin publishing forecasts for the Long Range Mountains of Newfoundland on February 3. Forecasts will run every Friday and Saturday until April 8, giving locals a valuable tool to help safely plan their backcountry trips. Our Newfoundland field team, based out of Rocky Harbour, is back in action for the winter and will be collecting field observations to inform local forecasts.

Newfoundland field technicians study the snowpack in Gros Morne National Park. Photo by Newfoundland Field Team. 

Braap It Up! Winner

Congratulations to Rhys Lannon on winning a brand new Polaris snowmobile in the Braap it UP! fundraiser! Rhys just took home a 2023 Polaris 850 RMK Khaos Slash 163 sled. The early bird draw for a group AST 1 or AST 2 was won by Brent Lowes. 

The Avalanche Canada Foundation’s second annual Braap It Up fundraiser raised more than $58,500 for public avalanche safety. 10% of the proceeds will go directly to the Al Hodgson Memorial Fund to support snowmobilers who wish to take recreational or professional level avalanche safety training.

Braap It Up! Winner Rhys Lannon (middle) with AvCan Snowmobile Outreach Coordinator Brent Strand (left) and AvCan Executive Director Gilles Valade. Rhys took home a brand new sled. Photo by Gilles Valade.

Avalanche Awareness Days

Avalanche Awareness Days (AAD) are in full swing, with events across BC, Alberta, and Quebec. AAD is a celebration of our winter heritage, an opportunity to learn more about our winter environment, and a way to build awareness of backcountry safety. It is a grassroots event, where local organizations such as ski resorts, snowmobile clubs, provincial and national parks, search and rescue groups, and others host avalanche awareness activities in their area.

This year, events are being hosted by BC Parks, ski resorts, and snowmobile clubs. Check out the full schedule to find an event near you.
Photo from Avalanche Awareness Days at Fernie Alpine Report in 2019.

Upcoming Webinars

Our free online webinar series continues to attract a great deal of interest, with well over 1,000 people attending our first six events. Live webinars are held on Thursday evenings (7pm–8 pm Pacific Time), but all are recorded and can be viewed here. Here's what's coming up:

  • February 2: Split Social: a gathering with Canadian splitboard pros. Join our panel of Canadian splitboarding experts including athletes, guides, and community stokers to celebrate the sport. 
  • February 16: Beyond AST 1: Join us to learn tips on how to get out safely, find partners, find the right terrain for your knowledge base, and continue to progress your avalanche safety skills.

Forecasters' Blog Highlights

Have you checked out our Forecasters’ Blog yet this season? If not, you’re missing out on useful advice for managing this winter’s tricky avalanche conditions. Here are a few recent highlights:

A field technician in the South Rockies examines layers in the snowpack. 

AvCan Caps

AvCan caps are in stock. We’ve got colours and styles for everyone. Get yours before they’re gone.

Partner Profile: Arc'teryx

Arc'teryx, based in BC's Coast Mountains, is a Supporting Sponsor and has contributed to Avalanche Canada for more than 15 years. They provide us with funding and in-kind products that combine to a total contribution of $10,000. Arc'teryx regularly contributes to our campaigns and provides prizing for the MIN of the Week competitions and our webinars. They have also provided outerwear pieces for our field team uniforms. We are very grateful for Arc'teryx's ongoing support of our public avalanche safety programs.

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