Canadian National Park to Get World’s Largest Avalanche Detection System

Adrian Dolatschko | | AvalancheAvalanche
Rogers Pass Avalanche Mitigation Image: SLt M.X. Déry

The famous Trans-Canadian Highway running through Glacier National Park and Roger’s Pass has long been a popular ski-touring destination and one of the most avalanche prone roadways in the world. With approximately 134 known avalanche paths within 42 km of roadway, the Canadian Parks Service has long struggled to mitigate risk.

Snowpaths Above the Trans-Canadian highway Image: Rob Buchanan

As part of an $18-million project, state of the art technology will be installed along the corridor to help both with avalanche prediction and control. Most notably, a $3-million system of sensors will analyze snow movements. Technology similar to seismic earthquake systems will be employed. The snow sensor network will be the largest to date in the world.

According to Glacier National Park superintendent Nick Irving,

“The avalanche detection network is a key new investment as part of our avalanche safety mitigation along the Trans-Canada Highway,”

A particular goal of the investment is to develop more detailed snowpack information that will support forecasting. As a result avalanche control to stabilize slopes will be more efficient. The sensor network will work in parallel with existing technology such as blasting and snow nets.

In addition to making travel on the Trans-Canadian Highway safer, the new systems will also offer backcountry skiers more detailed snowpack information.  

Parks Canada aims to install the system as soon as possible for testing and hopefully implementation next winter. 


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