Snowfall, grooming, and avalanche update

Avalanche Forecast for Monday Feb 22

“One individual ended up in the lake and another was partially buried”

Boom Lake: Icefalls at the headwall. Photo from 2019 by Chuck.

For anyone heading to Boom Lake, please read about the avalanche incident which occurred yesterday. I’ve posted more information and a link at the bottom of this update. 

Lake Louise Ski Resort is reporting 18 cm of overnight snow at the lower elevation. The web cam is showing lots of snow on the highway. On Bow Valley Road Conditions, the following was posted around 9 a.m: “Flipped car westbound on trans Canada between sunshine and Red Earth. Tow truck just arriving but down to one lane for now.”

Nakiska, which is near Ribbon Creek, is reporting 5 cm of overnight snow. 

PLPP: The grooming report indicates about 1 cm of new snow while tracksetting Amos, Wheeler, Woolley, and Meadow(partial) last night. The Mud Lake weather station shows 10 cm in the past 24 hours, and about 4 cm overnight. 

Shaganappi golf course

I’m re-posting this Grooming Report from Shaganappi golf course, as it explains some of the challenges presented by the weather:

February 22 Shaganappi Point golf course in Calgary grooming update: No grooming!

+8 Sunday +temps overnight = no grooming at Shaganappi

Sorry to report, we are opting for snow preservation over grooming at Shaganappi right now so be warned! The skiing may not be enjoyable.

The temperature at 8pm Sunday was +8 at the airport. There is a very shallow base of snow on most sections of trail at Shaganappi, so we are choosing to not groom until below 0 temperatures return. The temperature dropped this morning from +3 at 6am to 0 degrees with a windchill of -4 at 7am at the airport, but it is +2 in the community of Shaganappi.

If you venture out to Shaganappi today, do let us know what the skiing is like and what time you were there…how hard or soft the snow was, whether you were on classic or skate skis, whether your skis sunk down into the snow and how deep…the skate lanes likely will be rough from Sunday’s ski and foot traffic.

Avalanche at Boom Lake Sunday Feb 21

From Avalanche Canada:

A word of warning to all the folks who visit Boom Lake in the winter. Today we encountered three individuals walking across the lake back toward where the trail ends. They had been involved in an avalanche accident. The avalanche came down to the end of its path, broke through the ice and continued some distance across the ice surface. One individual ended up in the lake and another was partially buried (although we are unclear how buried they were). It appears they were near a frozen waterfall in the middle of the avalanche path when the avalanche reached them. The three of them were shaken and the one that ended up in the lake was very cold. They appeared to have little knowledge of avalanche safety. A photograph of the path and the hole in the lake ice is included. Avalanche conditions were considerable/moderate/low. All the paths on the north side of the lake had run, many of them full path and some had reached the lake edge. This should be a somber warning to all the users of this area, including us, who have sat at the end of the trail and eaten lunch. This is a backcountry area and caution/knowledge is required.

 

9 Comments:

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  1. Lucky, especially when getting pushed into lake water!!!! Another report from guides yesterday accessing saddleback and surprise pass at lake Louise. Conditions rapidly changed while they were travelling so they pulled the pin and headed back, only to see their up track had been hit by avalanches. It’s quite possible that some of the avalanche paths near cross country trails will run also (or hiking trails or other areas without fences or signage), increasing risk to potentially unaware cross country skiers, snowshoers and hikers. It’s that kind of time right now, and maybe another week or more of heightened risk. Avalanche terrain exposure maps are available to the public. It’s the users responsibility to inform themselves, always.

  2. To be clear, the avalanche path in question is not off the headwall at the end of the lake, but rather about half way along the lake at the base of a huge avalanche path, as seen in pictures number 5 & 6 in this photo link from March 2019:
    https://1drv.ms/a/s!AgTx5EOCG7eSihUV_yzr6hFjrwpR
    This avalanche regularly breaks the lake ice on impact and should never be approached. Any pictures taken should be with a long zoom lens like mine!

  3. I posted the original incident report to Avalanche Canada. Thanks for reposting here and increasing the visibility of this incident.

    I believe that Parks Canada needs better signage on this trail to indicate where the avalanche terrane begins and what that means. Currently there is a small sign, posted on a tree, that says something along the lines of “ski touring beyond this point”. This language is not clear to non-skiers (heck it’s not that clear to skiers) which are the majority of trail users these days. There are clear warnings at the trailhead but they are lost in the clutter of maps etc.

    • I really shouldn’t post when grumpy, but there is a huge avalanche sign when you first drive into Banff National Park. https://goo.gl/maps/VLAUXtEGvyW1etLf9

      We don’t post “potential drowning hazard” beside all lakes. Do we need to post avy warnings beside every trail (because in Banff, it really is potentially any trail).

  4. Thanks the update Bob, regarding the Boom lake avalanche incident, I have seen over the last months a few posts on Hike Alberta of folks wanted the « perfect Instagram shot » of themselves near the frozen waterfall below the avalanche path. Even from their photos you could see right away they were putting themselves in danger and many comments were like « stunning photo » lets go there!

  5. Shaganappi: Was there yesterday, about 15h00. Classic, loop starting w/ “expert” of to right from parking lot. Mixed conditions, first hill was fine w/ decent snow as was field on other side, then hit slush on back side of that field, crossing the creek the snow was soft but still a lot of it, coming up toward the condos conditions deteriorated quickly, snow turned to slush w/ icy patches, that was pretty much the “top” part of the loop. Lot of bare patches, but easily avoidable. Tracks were largely non existent.
    On the flip side, the place was quatro gatos empty as they say way down south.
    Snow preservation is the right call.

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