by Spencer Hall, Local Journalism Initiative Reporter, RMG

The snowpack in the Robson Valley and Interior BC is causing some concern for Avalanche Canada forecasters.

On January 8th, Avalanche Canada forecaster Colin Garritty estimated the risk of avalanche in the Robson Valley and upper North Thompson was “considerable” ” or a three out of five on the North American Public Avalanche Danger Scale at all elevations.

Garritty said ongoing snowfall and elevated winds would test the deep snowpack, creating dangerous avalanche conditions at all levels of elevation.

Garritty said a large, 70 cm slab was triggered from 20 meters away in the Clemina Creek alpine on Sunday, falling near the base of the snowpack. He said this incident illustrates that the weak base of the snowpack remains an issue in the region.

He predicted the heightened risk of avalanche in the area would persist at all elevations until at least Thursday afternoon.

Forecaster with Avalanche Canada, Tyson Rettie said the reduced amount and frequency of snow this winter has resulted in a generally weak, unconsolidated snowpack base and multiple weak layers throughout the top meter and a half of the snowpack.

“With the shallower snowpack and the somewhat frequent breaks in weather we’ve gotten, there are several weak layers throughout the snowpack that we’re tracking on an ongoing basis,” Rettie said.

He said anytime the snowpack isn’t actively receiving snow, some weak grains begin to develop on the snowpack’s surface As these weaker layers get buried in snow, they could produce avalanches in the short term. Rettie added the additional snow would ultimately strengthen the snowpack in the following weeks.

Rettie said those heading up to the mountains should be aware of hazards at lower elevations usually seen in early winter that would normally be covered by snow by now.

“When I say early season hazards, I’m talking about logs, rocks, creeks, things that are often quite concerning in November and December, but by now are typically buried deep enough that you’re riding over them. That stuff is still a hazard right now,” Rettie said.

He recommends residents check avalanche forecasts every day before going into the backcountry to keep up to date on avalanche hazards.

“There’s many layers in the snowpack that are perhaps concerning at one point in time and then they become no longer active, then that maybe there’s a new layer. It’s a continuously evolving situation that we keep an eye on and publish forecasts to keep people updated every day,” Rettie said.

For the most up to date avalanche forecasts, visit