‘Tis the season for outdoor adventures – and avalanches. Banff National Park has prepared a visitor information bulletin to inform outdoor enthusiasts about avoiding avalanches. The weather is unpredictable during the winter, but knowledge and preparation can help you stay safe as you enjoy the parks.
The visitor information bulletin explains that Parks Canada will be sharing an increased amount of avalanche information this year. Parks Canada will also be installing new signs along the Lake Louise lakeshore in Banff National Park, Emerald Lake in Yoho National Park, and some key backcountry locations where novices may not know that avalanche terrain is nearby.
You can prepare for your next winter visit to the Canadian mountain parks by following these safety tips from the Visitor Information Bulletin:
- Check Parks Canada’s Winter Trails Guide for a list of safe destinations
- Let someone know where you’re going and when you expect to come back
- Check the weather and avalanche bulletin, change plans if weather deteriorates
- If you plan to travel into avalanche terrain
- Take an avalanche safety course
- Carry avalanche gear (shovel, probe, beacon) and know how to use them
There are also a number of resources that you can consult for up-to-date conditions.
- Winter trails in the Banff area: www.pc.gc.ca/eng/pn-np/ab/banff/activ/skidefondxcski/banff.aspx
- Winter trails in the Lake Louise area:
- Avalanche Forecast (Banff, Yoho and Kootenay national parks): www.avalanche.pc.gc.ca
- Weather conditions: www.weather.gc.ca
- Road reports: Alberta: www.511.alberta.ca or BC: www.DriveBC.ca
Note that you don’t need to go far to be in avalanche terrain and not all sign-posted trails are safe for winter travel. Check the websites above for the Winter trail listings in the Banff area and the Lake Louise area.
With some preparation, you can help yourself stay safe as you visit the parks during the winter.