Posts Tagged ‘ Avalanche ’

How to Keep Traffic Moving in Avalanche Country

  It looks like something out of Star Wars. Large metal towers dominating a vantage point over a frozen cliff face that suddenly drop explosives charges, triggering a wall of snow that cascades down the mountain. But this isn’t science fiction. It’s a new technology designed to make roads safer and cut down on traffic headaches. It’s called a Remote Avalanche Control System, or RACS, and this winter we’re piloting it along a stretch of the Trans-Canada Highway called...

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What it’s Like to Watch an Avalanche from a Helicopter

For most people, avalanches incite terror (for good reason!), and should be avoided at all times. But what is true for backcountry enthusiasts doesn’t apply to our ministry avalanche technicians. For them, uniting snow and gravity is a way of life – performed from a safe distance in the name of highway safety. Our crews recently captured video footage of two methods of avalanche control at separate ends of the province: Bear Pass and Kootenay Pass. And it’s pretty...

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How Maintenance Contractors Are Rescuers at the Ready

Ministry maintenance contractors spend a lot of time on the road in winter – but it’s not just about plowing and sanding. Should an unexpected avalanche cover an open highway, these workers are nearby and ready to help. Every year, our ministry avalanche technicians deliver search and rescue training to maintenance contractors who work on BC highways, located below some 1,388 avalanche paths. The training also includes: the contractor’s typical role of closing a route for avalanche control work...

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Behind the Scenes: Hanging From a Rock Face for Avalanche Safety

The Ministry of Transportation and Infrastructure Avalanche and Weather Program is changing the landscape of avalanche control in Canada. Dropping explosives from a helicopter has traditionally been our weapon of choice for triggering controlled avalanches. But some challenging terrain on Yellowhead Highway 16, between Terrace and Prince Rupert, has compelled our avalanche team to try harnessing snow and ice rather than letting it loose. In fall 2014, crews completed Canada’s second ever avalanche fencing installation at the 35 Mile...

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Double Avalanche: All the Way

Sometimes, the sheer power and raw beauty of nature (with a little help from us, for safety’s sake) are so overwhelming, you just have to sit back and say, “Like, wow man. Double avalanche! All the way!” (much a like a certain popular rainbow video) That’s exactly what we did when we received this footage from our avalanche team late last week after they finished up some control work on BC Highway 3 near Fernie. Pretty amazing stuff, eh?...

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Bear Pass and Beyond: Watch Avalanche Crews Control Snow Flow

Intense. Dramatic. Amazing. Under control. These are just a few words that come to mind when we think of avalanches in the Ministry of Transportation and Infrastructure. Our Avalanche and Weather Program takes our technicians across the province to keep highway travellers safe and B.C. moving. In Bear Pass, a 65-kilometre stretch of Highway 37A, between Meziadin Junction and the coastal community of Stewart, we monitor about 70 avalanche paths between mid November until early May. These paths stand...

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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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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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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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