Avalanches in the Rockies

Nov 14, 2004
Toronto, Ontario
It's been an incredible year for avalanche conditions in the Rocky Mountains of British Columbia. A well above average snowpack combined with a buried layer of hoar frost leftover from Feb 4th has created some extremely unstable conditions in the mountains, especially along the Trans-Canada highway which is the main east/west route.

I'm in the middle of a shoot for the new Angry Planet TV series and we've been working with the Canadian military and the dept. of transportation as they blast the mountainsides with a howitzer and drop bombs from helicopters to create smaller avalanches before they turn into potentially deadly ones.


An avalanche coming down towards the highway.


105mm howitzer used for starting controlled avalanches.


Heli-bombing with a 2 minute fuse.


Typical terrain in the area (taken from a helicopter)

More pictures and updates are online at:
George Kourounis
Currently in Revelstoke, B.C.
Thanks for sharing. Please post some video if you are willing to share.

I'm guessing you are in interior BC. I didn't know they had bad hoar frost problems, but it makes sense in the continental snowpack of the interior.

How much snow have they had this winter? How does this compare to average?
Right now I'm having huge website problems so I won't be able to post any pics or video for a few days.

Right now I'm in Golden B.C. between Calgary and Revelstoke along the Rogers Pass. They've had about 30 FEET of snowfall here this year which is above average but not record setting.

This morning I was out with a ski patrol team and they set off a couple of 12kg explosive charges and managed to bring down a pretty good slide. I was also testing out an avalanche airbag system. It's like a parachute but it has a cylinder of compressed nitrogen that inflates 2 balloons in the backpack that expand out the sides. The extra bouyancy is supposed to keep you on top of the avalanche insted of being buried by it. Very cool but pricey (about $1000)

George Kourounis