Avalanche warning issued for mountain parks
Spring hikers advised to stay out of bowls where snow accumulation is heavy
With a warm weekend finally in the forecast hikers might be tempted to start hitting the mountain trails, but Parks Canada is advising caution.
Parks officials issued a special avalanche warning beginning Friday for Banff, Yoho and Kootenay national parks.
A cool, wet spring left snow at higher elevations so the sudden jump in temperatures expected this weekend could trigger slides, said visitor safety technician Chris Gooliaff.
"You actually are walking in the bottom of an avalanche path and you could have something thundering down that hasn't released all winter," he said.
"So that’s the big concern right now, is just a big spring avalanche cycle which we haven't really experienced … in the Rockies yet this season."
Even popular trails like the tea house hikes at Lake Louise could be risky, Gooliaff said.
Albi Sole, the mountain programs co-ordinator at the University of Calgary’s Outdoor Centre, said he expects conditions will be safer within a week.
"If you really must go hiking this weekend, I would suggest staying out on the front ranges, in the dry areas where not much snow pack accumulated in the winter. So the front face of Yamnuska, maybe some of the stuff around Bragg Creek," Sole said.