Revelstoke (Grant Helgeson) – Wow, it’s hard to believe it’s already mid-April and green grass is beginning to sprout up in lawns across our forecast regions. While it certainly feels like spring in the valley bottoms, the alpine is a different story. A series of recent storms across the province has delivered exceptional riding conditions for those who are still keen to get after it. The underlying snowpack is deep and for the most part, our concern is limited to the bond of the new snow. Avalanche danger has been on the lower end of the scale and the grins of folks who are still getting out speak for themselves. The oscillation from warm to cold and back again should continue for the foreseeable future, so you don’t need to put the winter toys away just yet.
That being said, all good things must come to an end. Our Friday, April 26 forecast will help get folks through the last weekend in April and mark the end of our season here at Avalanche Canada. We’ll continue to post blogs and generalized guidance when conditions require and capacity allows, but daily avalanche bulletins will wrap up until next winter.
Much of the information we use to create the daily forecasts comes from professional snow safety teams and guides working in the public and private sectors. These observations help us get a handle on what’s happening in the snowpack and validate our forecast products. As those outfits wrap up operations for the season, it becomes increasingly difficult to produce accurate regional forecasts.
In both the early and late season, we rely heavily on remote weather stations and weather forecasts from our partners at Environment Canada. There’s a catch though—spring storms are often convective. This means one drainage may get 20 cm while the adjacent drainage only gets 2 cm. If the weather station is on either end of that extreme, it can be very difficult to develop a comprehensive mental model of how the snow lays across the landscape—what we call a “nowcast.” As we lose validation, our uncertainty grows, and we have lower confidence in our forecasts.
This is one of those times when Mountain Information Network (MIN) posts are extra valuable to us. As forecasters, we use this view all the time to sort through the latest MIN posts. They help us to ground truth our ideas and when there are enough of them, they provide the validation we need to produce detailed, accurate forecasts for you. If you’re headed out for some late season fun in the mountains, we would absolutely love it if you would take the time to post your observations to the MIN. As cliché as it may seem, your photos are worth at least 1,000 words. 😉
Let’s all get through this last bit of winter safely, and please do let us know what you’re seeing out there!