Avalanche Program

Information on how our Avalanche Safety Program keeps our roads safe, constantly monitoring conditions and closing-reopening roads to avoid disaster.

Photo Blog: Avalanche Control Over BC Highways

Photo Blog: Avalanche Control Over BC Highways

Avalanches are mesmerizing – at least from a safe distance, whether that be via video, photograph, or directly from a helicopter. No one gets closer to the action than our avalanche control technicians. They trek to remote mountainside avalanche weather stations (all 58 of them) and trigger blasts with strange-sounding equipment such as Gazex Exploders and Daisy Bells. So, who better to capture the awe inspiring images of avalanche control work? In celebration of this weekend’s Avalanche Awareness Days,...

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Avalanche Control: Timing “Train Travel” on Bear Pass

Q. What train can travel 70 possible routes over a glacier, from 2,500 metre-high mountain tops down to near sea level, in about 20 seconds? A. An “avalanche train” in Bear Pass. An avalanche train is the sudden release of a large mass of snow or ice. Triggered by natural or human forces, it collects even more snow, ice and debris with it, as it thunders downward. In Bear Pass, a 65-kilometre stretch of Highway 37A, between Meziadin Junction...

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What’s it Like? An Interview with a BC Avalanche Tech

Winter safety

We’ve had a lot of interest in our avalanche program lately, so we thought we’d give you an inside look at what goes on there. Meet Avalanche Tech Robb Andersen. Robb’s been working in avalanche safety since 1994, and he’s been with the ministry since 2004, working the snowy slopes in different areas throughout the province. He was in Stewart working Bear Pass when they had their biggest winter in 30 years, and he’s also spent a lot of...

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Our Avalanche Crews Know Snow Flow

Avalanche Helicopter

How We Trigger Avalanches to Make Our Roads Safer for Travellers The snow falls thick and fast, and the mountain slopes become more and more unstable. Is it enough to set off an avalanche? Luckily, if you’re driving the mountain passes in B.C., you don’t really have to worry about it, because our avalanche and weather folks are on the job 24-hours a day to keep you safe on your travels. Apart from constantly monitoring the snow conditions, an...

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BC Avalanche Control: Exploding for Highway Safety

Our Avalanche and Weather Program team are on the job 24-hours a day to keep you and our roads safe. How? The best way is to show you. Check out this video and see first hand how we trigger avalanches and make our roads safer for B.C. travellers. For more info, visit our Avalanche and Weather Program site and for the latest updates, head to our Avalanche Advisory page.  

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The BC Avalanche Program

Avalanche Advisory site

Keeping You Safe From the (Tons of) Falling Snow Mountains are one of British Columbia’s most defining features, but those majestic snow-capped peaks can create some pretty hazardous driving conditions on our mountain passes during avalanche season, which typically runs from November to April. Thankfully, we have a team of fully qualified avalanche professionals keeping a close eye on weather and snowpack conditions to make sure they don’t pose a problem for drivers. And with nearly 1,400 avalanche paths...

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Avalanche Safety – Shedding Light on the Snow Shed

Have you ever heard the term, “snow shed” and wondered what it is? Well, it’s not a place where we keep extra snow. Actually, it’s more like a tunnel – a concrete cover built over the road to protect traffic from avalanches. Snow sheds are designed to withstand the incredible forces involved with vast amounts of sliding snow, however they’re not meant to stop it. Instead, the sheds deflect the snow, allowing it to pass over top while traffic...

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Avalanche Advisories: Know Before You Go

B.C. Avalanche Advisory Site January is always avalanche season in British Columbia, but this particular January has been a beast, the worst in thirty years in some locations. We’ve seen avalanches in places where they’re rare, like Pine Pass, as well as larger and more frequent avalanches in the established hazard areas. In one seven-day period, there were over 30 large avalanches in the Kicking Horse Canyon along the Trans-Canada Highway, after over a metre of heavy snow fell...

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