Item: Winter 2003 in southern bc – perspective, recognition, management
Title: Winter 2003 in southern bc – perspective, recognition, management
Proceedings: Proceedings of the 2006 International Snow Science Workshop, Telluride, Colorado
Authors: Chris Stethem, Snow Safety Services, Canmore, Alberta, Marc Piché, Canadian Mountain Holidays, Banff, Alberta
Abstract: The winter of 2002-03 began with the formation of a rain crust in November, followed by an extended period of fair weather and the development of a persistent facet crust combination in a below average snowpack depth. This condition was recognized during early season training, however the magnitude of the problem did not strike home until two serious ski touring accidents in late January and early February claimed 14 lives. Acceptance of the condition and adaptation of operations was critical to heli-skiing operations in the Interior Ranges of BC. By winters end there would be 29 fatalities in mountain recreation, the greatest loss of life by avalanches in Canada since 1964-65. In recent decades, the trend of well above average loss of life by recreationists in avalanches has coincided with below average snowpack depths and formation of persistent instabilities within the snowpack. Recognition of the uncertainty of these conditions and acceptance of the conservative approach to managing skiing operations is the legacy for future anomalous winters.
Keywords: accidents, below average snowpacks, winter mountain travel, mechanized skiing
Digital Abstract Not Available