Banff Sunshine Village ski resort closed yesterday and will remain closed today due to the extreme avalanche hazard in Banff National Park. The Alberta, Canada ski area said “avalanche conditions are extreme in the alpine, at treeline, and below treeline”, and that the “storm prevented both our snow safety team, and Parks Canada’s from being able to mitigate avalanche risk.”
A series of atmospheric river events have dropped over three feet of snow on the area over the last few days. Coupled with high winds this has created sensitive slabs at treeline and above with large avalanches very likely.
Due to the extreme Avalanche Hazard in Banff National Park, and out of an abundance of caution we at Banff Sunshine Village will remain closed tomorrow, Thursday, December 2nd.
Our team is working closely with Parks Canada to ensure safety. The heavy snowfall coupled with above seasonal temperatures has pushed the avalanche risk from considerable to extreme in the Canadian Rockies. At present avalanche conditions are extreme in the alpine, at treeline, and below treeline.
Today’s storm prevented both our snow safety team, and Parks Canada’s from being able to mitigate avalanche risk. Parks Canada will be heli-bombing the Sunshine Access Road tomorrow morning.
With the surplus of new snow, our team will be working on controlling inbound terrain so that we will be able to safely welcome you back to carve up Canada’s Best Snow on Friday, December 3rd.
Stay tuned to our social media as we will continue to post updates.
– Banff Sunshine statement
Over the weekend a snowmobiler was killed after his group triggered an avalanche in British Columbia, and on Sunday Revelstoke Mountain Resort, BC did not open due to the avalanche risk.
Snow ending early Thursday AM, alpine winds will be around 40-60kmh decrease Thursday night into Friday. Poor to no freeze Thursday AM. Freezing levels will drop to valley bottom by the evening. Some flurries can be expected but no significant snow. Friday the temperatures will remain below freezing at valley bottom with light winds.
Speculating 30-100cm of new snow in the high alpine based on 30mm at Bow Summit and 40mm at Sunshine in the last 24 hours. Rain occurred up to 2400m, saturating the snowpack. A midpack Nov.15 crust is found below 2100m, and the Nov. 5 crust/facet layer exists near the ground.
Avalanche Activity Discussion
Widespread natural activity and results to size 3 with explosives today. Poor visibility obscuring start zones but debris piles found in almost every path.
Michael Coyle, a member of Coquitlam Search and Rescue, tweeted yesterday that backcountry skiers, snowshoers, and ice climbers should stay home, saying he’s “never seen an avalanche forecast like this.”
I’ve never seen an avalanche forecast like this. Today is a good day to take a day off and stay out of the backcountry. pic.twitter.com/1diyUDZaAY
— Michael “oplopanax” Coyle (@lithohedron) December 1, 2021