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 Post subject: Forecasts and resources for BC and the west coast
PostPosted: Wed Nov 30, 2011 10:40 am 
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Joined: Sun Nov 20, 2011 7:38 pm
Posts: 20
Location: British Columbia
This is something I put together as a blog post and am happy to share with others on this site. Below is a brief overview of the steps I take here in British Columbia before travelling in the backcountry. If you're in the area these are great resources to reference. If you're not one to travel in these parts, hopefully this will still give you some ideas and a checklist before exploring your local terrain. Using these resource is how we get a good picture of the conditions and find our powder stashes!

The full article is posted here: http://powdergangster.blogspot.com/2011/11/get-more-powder-days-part-1-weather.html

Check the avalanche forecasts

Planning to ski on the weekend always begins on Monday. I check the avalanche forecasts everyday to track the changes in conditions. Combining the forecast with the intel gained from previous touring days will help assess snow pack of ski areas and most importantly, help to find the perfect powder conditions! These are the 5 different areas/ reports I check daily:

· Sea to Sky: http://www.avalanche.ca/cac/bulletins/latest/sea-to-sky
· South Inland: http://www.avalanche.ca/cac/bulletins/latest/south-coast
· Whistler: http://www.whistlerblackcomb.com/weather/advisory/index.htm
· North Shore: http://www.avalanche.ca/cac/bulletins/latest/north-shore
· Mount Baker: http://www.nwac.us/forecast/avalanche/current/zone/5

Check the weather forecasts

Use government weather sources as much as possible (they don’t rosie up the conditions). Combining these forecasts with http://www.snow-forecast.com and http://mountain-forecast.com you get a good overall vision of what the slopes will be like dependent on wind directions and precipitation amounts.

Whistler/ Duffey Rd.: http://www.whistlerblackcomb.com/weather/forecast/index.htm
Note, the Duffey normally receives half the precipitation of Whistler

Coquihalla: http://www.weatheroffice.gc.ca/forecast/textforecast_e.html?Bulletin=fpcn68.cwvr

Mount Baker: http://www.nwac.us/forecast/avalanche/current/zone/5/

Check the web cams

http://DriveBC.ca webcams are a great tool to give a visual of weather conditions on the road. Precipitation (whether snow or rain) on the road can provide a good indication of weather conditions at higher elevations.

_________________
Discovering new terrain and exploring the mountains of British Columbia 365 days of the year at http://www.powdergangster.ca


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 Post subject: Re: Forecasts and resources for BC and the west coast
PostPosted: Thu Dec 08, 2011 10:01 am 
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Joined: Sun Nov 20, 2011 7:38 pm
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Location: British Columbia
Thought I'd share a few more notes and resources for anyone that may be unfamiliar with some of these great spots to ski around BC and maybe a few tips to those that are regulars as well. Freezing levels are a big factor we deal with on west coast, especially early season which can lead to amazing powder days as easily as icy, and wind-affected days.

Key Zone Starting Elevations
Coquihalla Summit 1244m
Cayoosh Pass 1275m
Mt Baker Ski Resort 1070m
Mt Seymour Parking Lot 1020m

With a freezing level of 1000m or lower, any of the listed locations will be a good choice for a day trip. The difficulty however comes when freezing levels start at 1500m. My decision making process goes a little something like this:

- Monitor precipitation in the past week and associated freezing levels
- Determine best (forecasted) aspect based on wind and sun
- Balance Avalanche forecasts with weather forecasts to determine ideal and (relatively) safe location

Best Selections Based on Aspect / Freezing Level

South Facing
S. Needle Peak - Start: 1220m Top: 2100m Best skiing between 2100m and 1700m
SE Thar Peak – Start: 1170m Top: 1920m Best skiing between 1920m to 1400m
S Rohr Ridge – Start: 1310m Top: 1980m Best Skiing between 1980m to 1500m

North Facing
Zoa Peak – Start: 1170m Top: 1860m Best Skiing between 1860m to 1600m
Chief Pascal – Start: 1280m Top: 2200m Best skiing between 1800m to 1400m

Tree Skiing Areas (for times when it dumps snow)
Needle Peak Approach Slope
Lower slopes of Chief Pascal and Joffre shoulder
Cayoosh Approach Road Cut block

Freezing levels around 1500m shouldn't keep you from getting great turns. You just need to find the right location! Remember, freezing levels are never exactly as forecasted and snow always falls below the freezing level. That is why it important to note where the good skiing elevations are for your favorite areas. Start building a log and take your GPS. This will help you pinpoint the best runs and therefore the best elevations.

_________________
Discovering new terrain and exploring the mountains of British Columbia 365 days of the year at http://www.powdergangster.ca


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 Post subject: Re: Forecasts and resources for BC and the west coast
PostPosted: Thu Jan 26, 2012 11:50 am 
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Joined: Fri Nov 12, 2004 12:37 pm
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Location: in between
thx for this thread powder gangster

I've been checking weather and avi forecasts for sea2sky area for the last couple of weeks. quite a wake up call seeing high avi danger consistently, but i'm sure not unexpected for up there with consistent snow accumulations and wind and an upside down snowpack from last weeks cold smoke.

I like the simple forecast, but it doesn't say anything about accumulations, wind, observations, etc. Am I missing something in the avi forecasts?

so the big question as I'll be up there next week is - what are tourers seeing/experiencing out there. even for the slackcountry out of Whistler?

This Cali couple is a little spooked on the avi conditions to say the least.


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 Post subject: Re: Forecasts and resources for BC and the west coast
PostPosted: Thu Jan 26, 2012 12:10 pm 
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And for the island, http://islandavalanchebulletin.com

We don't have the the simplified reports with fancy graphics and icons on the island, but we do have very indepth forecasts and analysis ! :)


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 Post subject: Re: Forecasts and resources for BC and the west coast
PostPosted: Tue Jan 31, 2012 10:24 pm 
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Joined: Sun Nov 20, 2011 7:38 pm
Posts: 20
Location: British Columbia
powderjunkie wrote:
thx for this thread powder gangster

I've been checking weather and avi forecasts for sea2sky area for the last couple of weeks. quite a wake up call seeing high avi danger consistently, but i'm sure not unexpected for up there with consistent snow accumulations and wind and an upside down snowpack from last weeks cold smoke.

I like the simple forecast, but it doesn't say anything about accumulations, wind, observations, etc. Am I missing something in the avi forecasts?

so the big question as I'll be up there next week is - what are tourers seeing/experiencing out there. even for the slackcountry out of Whistler?

This Cali couple is a little spooked on the avi conditions to say the least.


On the avalanche forecasts you can click on forecast details to get a little better idea of what the forecast was based on (wind, snow, etc). Note as well the forecasts are aspect specific and it will also indicate what type of instability, probability, and size. This can help you make some more informed terrain choices. For example on the coast some of the forecasts have said "High danger" but that high danger was storm slabs and projected to be only a size 1 at alpine elevations. I would still ski with a forecast like that but just pick my terrain very carefully.

If you are new to the area it may seem like if the avi danger is high then you can't ski but here the tree cover is so thick that you can often ski very safely in the trees and manage your overhead danger from the alpine.

One thing about the coast is that the snow pack stabilizes pretty quick, normally as storms arrive warm then after they leave it tends to cool down tightening everything up. We tend not to have the garbage in the snow pack that you see in inland locations (facets, depth hoar, etc) because of the pinnaplpe expresses that hit periodically through the season and bond everything together.

_________________
Discovering new terrain and exploring the mountains of British Columbia 365 days of the year at http://www.powdergangster.ca


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 Post subject: Re: Forecasts and resources for BC and the west coast
PostPosted: Wed Feb 01, 2012 6:58 am 
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Joined: Sun Nov 27, 2011 7:43 pm
Posts: 51
Location: Fernie, BC
Great topic, thanks for starting it. Just to add a couple of my favorite resources:

mountainweather.ca. - currently has fernie, kicking horse, sunshine and a couple of other mountains, but it provides weather plot and ridge top data live. Giving wind speed and direction, temp and humidity, barometer, precip, water equiv. etc. - ussually with updates every ten minutes. Invaluable if you are in an area it covers, and hopefull well see it expand to more areas in future seasons

I also like to use unisys for models, they have a number of them, with the 12 hr one linked being my usual one to check out for trends over the day

http://weather.unisys.com/satellite/sat ... &region=he


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