State of the Backcountry - Trickier than you think!
The Avalanche Canada bulletin for Kootenay Boundary today was rated as "High" for the alpine, "Moderate" at tree line and "Low" for below tree line. This should be taken seriously and ensure you don’t get comfortable with that thick underlying slab that now sits 20-30cm down under some fluffy new snow. While it may not be reactive where you are skiing at one point in time it may be at another.
We just returned from a lap down Acidophilus and 5 Mile with nothing more that a few shooting cracks and collapsing of layers under foot (clue #1 to take notice of). One of these cracks was exceptionally large and propagated almost an entire slope (clue #2 to take notice of). While nothing was moving as we skied the slopes conservatively our confidence was not strong given the incredible amount of variability from one micro aspect to another.
Skiing out via Goat Slide and back to Whitewater Ski Resort we could tell that the winds had done their thing on this South facing slope (clue #3 to take notice of), not like the North and West aspects we had just skied. A soft slab had formed on the entire south face and it was easily triggered by both skiers ahead of me. A small size one quickly spread and took out a 50m wide section. This was in the same area that we witnessed a single skier descending as we were switching over to ski our first lap into Acidophilus.
Long story short, play things conservative and expect to see a high degree of variability in the stability of the snow from where you are at to just past that next tree. It’s tricky out their, play safe.