Special avalanche warning issued for Alberta, B.C. after major snowfall

A special avalanche warning has been issued for Alberta and southern British Columbia.

The warning, issued by Avalanche Canada, is widespread and includes the South Rockies, Kananaskis Country and the Purcells, as well as Banff, Yoho, Kooteney and Waterton national parks.

The safety organization says a storm that blew through Western Canada has dropped a significant amount of snow.

That snow is sitting on top of a weak layer.

The group says many natural avalanches ran to historic runouts during the storm.

Ilya Storm, supervisor for Avalanche Canada’s forecast program, says the slopes are primed for human-triggered avalanches.

“Distinguishing between slopes that have already slid and those that are the tipping point will be very difficult,” he said in a news release Monday. “This, combined with clearing weather during a holiday week, has us very concerned for backcountry users.”

Parks Canada and Kananaskis Country officials have added their voice to the warning.

They are asking all backcountry users and anyone recreating in avalanche terrain to check local avalanche forecasts and carry rescue gear — transceivers, probes and shovels.