Large Skier Triggered Avalanche Caught on Tape in Banff

Dylan Cautela | BackcountryBackcountry | AvalancheAvalanche

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Winter is very much in full effect as we stroll into December and with winter comes avalanches.  This skier triggered avalanche occurred on Mt. Lipallian in the backcountry just outside the resort of Lake Louise in Banff, Alberta in December 2016. Having picked up 38 centimeters of snow in the last week, avalanche danger has increased substantially throughout the region.

Extremely well placed ski cut, kudos Eric!
The release and propagation of the avalanche. Source; Eric Frigon

A tactically placed ski-cut triggered the rather large avalanche on a southerly aspect when the rider struck a weak point at the shallow layer next to a protruding rock. The crown ranged in depth from 30 to 55 centimeters and slid on the crust layer from November 12th. Parks Canada’s Avalanche bulletin for the region states Moderate avalanche danger in the alpine and treeline on southerly aspects due to faceting on this same crust. As temperature gradient changes and more storms track through with precipitation this could become a greater potential hazard.

Not bad but not great, would like to see all green
Today’s avalanche bulletin for the Banff, Yoho and Kootenay National Parks region. Source; Parks Canada.

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9 thoughts on “Large Skier Triggered Avalanche Caught on Tape in Banff

  1. Notice the Skier @ ~ 15 seconds pull up to the thin spot of the slab. Great example of a release Initiating in the weak/thin spot.

    1. Definitely also noticed that. I think it was a good move though… if you’re going to ski that slope in those conditions, then a good idea to ‘ski cut’ it at the trigger point.

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