Posts Tagged ‘ avalanche and weather program ’

Ka-BOOM! 3 Types of Remote Avalanche Control in BC

“Even the largest avalanche is triggered by small things.” Vernor Vinge, author Rain… Wind… The weight from a layer of fresh snow… Warming temperatures… It doesn’t take much to break the bonds that hold a snowpack together, releasing a cascade of snow and debris down a mountainside scarred by avalanche paths. But it’s our avalanche technicians’ job to beat Mother Nature to the punch near BC highways. While the most common method for triggering controlled avalanches is helibombing (in...

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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 Three...

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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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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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