FORT ST. JOHN, B.C. – Avalanche Canada says forecasting the risk this weekend in the North Rockies is difficult because of the early-week strong winds and the late week temperature shift above freezing.

In the alpine region, the risk is level 3-Considerable all weekend, while above and below the treeline is level 2-Moderate all weekend.

“Warm temperatures may create tricky conditions this weekend,” reads the avalanche forecast from Avalanche Canada.

“Although the region is not included in the avalanche warning, deeper layers in the snowpack may become active. It’s a good time to approach the mountains cautiously, with your eyes open, maybe even expect some surprises.”

A special public avalanche warning is in effect for the mountains of Southern B.C. and Western Alberta, with lots of sunshine and warm temperatures expected in the weather forecast.

In the north, the eastern side of the North Rockies divide will get less snow, and wind-affected slopes and ridges will pose the greatest concern.

According to a report from Istorm, the warm temperatures could weaken the snowpack and test upper and mid snowpack layers.

“The lower snowpack is generally strong and bonded, with one or multiple crusts near the ground. We suspect the lower snowpack could be weak in shallow rocky wind-affected slopes east of the divide,” reads the report.

A November 2021 avalanche in Sunshine Bowl in the Hasler riding area claimed the life of one snowmobiler after three of four riders were buried, but two were able to escape.

For updates on avalanche conditions in the North Rockies, go to the Avalanche Canada website.