A search and rescue helicopter heads toward a deadly avalanche site in a March 14, 2010 photo near Revelstoke, B.C. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Jeff McIntosh

Rare warning of ‘extreme’ avalanche risk issued as storm hits B.C.

Forty to 100 cm of snow, strong winds, and warming temperatures create a perfect setting, group says

The organization that monitors avalanche risk across much of B.C. has issued an uncommon “extreme” warning for many slopes in the Sea-to-Sky region just north of Vancouver.

Avalanche Canada says staff “rarely see” extreme avalanche danger and the website indicates large avalanches are “almost certain” on alpine and treeline sections of slopes at Whistler and Garibaldi Provincial Park.

Between 40 centimetres and a metre of new snow, coupled with strong wind and warming temperatures, will “cause a natural avalanche cycle,” the website says.

The risk level is rated as high below the treeline, meaning very dangerous avalanche conditions exist and travel in avalanche terrain is not recommended.

Those risks are expected to remain for the Sea-to-Sky mountains through Saturday and Avalanche Canada says high risk ratings were also in effect Friday for several mountain ranges from the northwest coast to the Alberta boundary.

Two 21-year-old Alaska men died Monday when they were hit by an avalanche while snowboarding with a friend in Tatshenshini-Alsek Provincial Park in the far northwestern corner of B.C.

The Canadian Press

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