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‘Weak’ snow blamed for Alberta avalanches

<p>A Parks Canada safety expert said the weather is to blame for a weak crust in B.C. and the Alberta Rockies, triggering a number of deadly avalanches in recent weeks.</p>




A Parks Canada safety expert said the weather is to blame for a weak crust in B.C. and the Alberta Rockies, triggering a number of deadly avalanches in recent weeks.





The weather issues creating dangerous snow conditions differ between the B.C. interior and those found in Alberta.





Shallow snow pack coupled with colder temperatures in the Alberta Rockies has made the snow unstable, creating potentially dangerous alpine conditions.





“If you have a shallow snow pack that has a very cold surface, it just turns the snow weak, particularly at the base,” said Brad White, public safety specialist for Parks Canada.





Because Alberta has only gotten “dribs and drabs” of snow, White said each layer of ‘sugary’ snow is exposed to the bitter cold, making it weaker, eventually folding under the weight of several small snowfalls.





Ridge top rains have provided the base for a weak crust to form in the B.C. interior.





White said skiers and backcountry enthusiasts need to check snow conditions before they head out. They can do so at www.avalanche.ca.


 
 
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