View From the Helicopter

Ministry avalanche technicians performed avalanche control along Highway 99/Duffy Lake Road on May 14, 2012. The site (Path 51) is often used for avalanche control in May, when the sun and warm nights conspire to wet the snowpack. The May snowpack is 25 per cent above average this year.


The crew either deploys explosive charges via helicopter or by remote control GAZEX gas exploder. The avalanche shown here was triggered in a shallow snowpack site by explosives. The moist surface was getting direct solar warming, which weakened older snow layers. It entrained a large (size 3) wet slab avalanche. Having already closed the highway prior to the avalanche control, the road crews then cleaned up the highway.


Avalanche crews continue to monitor snowpack and weather data to make accurate avalanche hazard forecasts.


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Taken on May 14, 2012