Looking for one of the most important pieces of the avalanche safety puzzle?! You have come to the right place!
The PAB (Public Avalanche Bulletins) are specialized reports created for high use avalanche areas of Canada.
There are 5 simple ways to access this information.
4) Visit the Sledder’s page on the Canadian Avalanche Centre’s website. CLICK HERE
5) Visit www.avalanche.ca and follow the prompts for “BULLETINS!” CLICK HERE
The PAB is like a road report for the mountains.
EVERYONE should access this information before going riding!
Please open a current bulletin for any CAC Forecast area by clicking on a region on the map or by selecting from the list on the left side of the page.
Not sure about the boundaries of the bulletin regions. CLICK HERE to follow this link to view the PAB map overlayed onto a Google Map. Zoom in and view towns and road systems to get a better orientation!
For a quick tutorial on Bulletin use we encourage you to refer to the bulletin below. This is a screen shot of the North Columbia Avalanche Forecast from Dec 18/09.
Note the NEW AND ENHANCED features. These excellent features were added during the 2008 and 2009 seasons.
- Sub-regions in the Hazard Rating Chart – some of the forecast regions have sub-regions to improve the quality of data by reducing the size of the forecast regions. Weather patterns have been the primary influence in these new dividing lines. For the North Columbia PAB region the sub-regions are the Cariboos (west side of Hwy 5) vs. Monashees and Selkirks (east side of Hwy 5).
- Color Map of the new Sub-Regions – in the top right of the forecast report.
- Confidence – the level of confidence is primarily related to the forecaster’s confidence in the weather forecast. (If the actual weather varies much from the forecasted weather, then the PAB may have mis-judged the avalanche hazard.) Confidence may also be low if there are little information being submitted to the forecasters (early or late season…)
- Primary Concerns Icons – a visual summary of the problem layers. Avalanche type, sides of the mountains affected, elevation band of concern and time of day for the primary concern.
- The colored areas of the Compass Icon are the areas of concern. In this bulletin, for example, the areas of concern for the windslab are on the North through East aspects. The areas of concern for the Storm snow are on all aspects.
- Avalanche Activity tells you what IS happening
- Snowpack Data tells you what COULD happen
- Weather Data tells you what SHOULD happen
- Glossary Links – click on highlighted technical terms for detailed descriptions and images. Very useful as a FREE training tool.
- Next Scheduled Update – this date ensures that no one accidentally uses stale bulletin information. Conditions can change quickly SO IT IS ESSENTIAL TO ACCESS THE DATA FOR THE CORRECT REGION ON THE CORRECT DATE.
- Recently Reported Avalanche Incidents – these reports are specific to the Bulletin area selected.
Photos are often included in many of the reports. This one shows the full path of the Size 3 slab avalanche (large enough to bury or destroy a truck or small building.)
We highly recommend that you take advantage of this Free service to keep in touch with the ever-changing conditions. Not only will this FREE service prepare you for your backcountry trips, but you will also grow your avalanche experience and vocabulary by noting the significant events and trends in the weather and avalanche cycles. Learn to identify the significant weather patterns and start to develop your own snow interpretation ability. As you read about the weather today, try to guess how it will affect the snow stability tomorrow. Pick up travel hints and terrain identification skills by following the forecaster’s travel advisories
Remember to download the new iPhone application!
CLICK HERE to be redirected.
The Avaluator is a decision making tool.It is a card and guidebook that leads you through gathering information and observations before and during your trip to the mountains.
By being more aware of the predicted and actual stability and weather conditions, and looking at this in conjunction with the type of terrain that you are choosing, the Avaluator will help you to acknowledge a recommended level of caution for your planned venture.
The Avaluator is a tool for semi-trained backcountry recreationalists. The proper use of this tool is well explained in the accompanying booklet, however it is recognized that the tool is more useful in the hands of a user that has completed the 16 hour AST Level 1 program.
CLICK HERE to register for an upcoming AST1 avalanche course.
Pre-Trip PlannerThe first part of the system is the Pre-Trip Planner.
CLICK HERE to learn how to use the CAC’s Interactive Online Trip Planner which contains officially rated terrain in each of the bulletin areas.
This webpage will walk you through steps to properly use the Avaluator to make decisions from home that compare the current avalanche conditions and your expected terrain choices.
CLICK HERE TO FOLLOW THIS LINK to the Canadian Avalanche Centre to learn more about the ‘Avalanche Terrain Exposure System’ (ATES) rating system. What exactly is Simple, Challenging and Complex terrain?
CLICK HERE TO FOLLOW THIS LINK to read the definitions of the Canadian Avalanche Centre Danger Scale.
These decisions are all related to Trip Planning, before the trip….but what about decisions when you are in the field?To learn about the Slope Evaluation Card….just CLICK HERE
The Avaluator has undergone a few changes for 2010. The Slope Evaluation card for this updated Version has a new matrix that correlates field observations about avalanche conditions with terrain factors.
As you review both the Avalanche Conditions Warning Signs and the Terrain Characteristics notice that some relate to increased probability of triggering an avalanche and some relate to increased consequences if one is triggered.
This makes sense when one considers this definition of Risk:
Risk = Probability * Consequence * Exposure