Backcountry Resources

Latest Snowpack Updates

Dive Deep Into the snowpack

We go out into the local mountain ranges to provide you with an understanding of what the Avalanche Canada conditions report means, and how it applies to our local backcountry. 

State Of The Snowpack

Community Engagement

A locally driven organization that strives to bridge the gap between Avalanche Canada’s Regional Avalanche Forecast and local knowledge shared in the InfoEx by guides and avalanche professions. Snowpack analysis, tips, + more.

FREE Info + Learning

tips to stay safe

We bring you some very important and relevant tips to stay safe, reduce your risk and your exposure in the backcountry. We point out hazards, observations, and clues in the snowpack, and other great free safety tips.

Backcountry Gear Reviews


There are a lot of options on there when it comes to backcountry safety, touring, and snow science gear. Our expert guides break down the differences and what to look for when buying new gear.

Snowpack Update

  • Date:

    Feb. 1, 2022

  • Location:

    Five Mile Creek

  • Avalanche Canada Report:

The information I, Judson Wright Lead Guide, present is my own observations to the best of my ability. These snowpack summaries do not replace actually avalanche training. What you do with the information I present is your responsibility, use it responsibly.

Please sign up for an Avalanche Skills Training course with us, or with your local Avalanche Canada AST Provider.

Detailed Conditions Report:

Snowpack Update: January 4, 2022
Location: Five Mile Creek @whitewaterskiresort 


👉Similar to that awkward time period between Christmas and New Years when you're full of cheese and have no idea what day it is, in the West Kootenay's it just keeps powing and we are in pure powder bliss over here where everyday seems to be a POW day. 

👉January 2, 2022- @whitewaterskiresort received a monster dump of 65+cm overnight making January 3, 2022 the deepest day at the resort (for those who were able to shovel themselves out).

👉Over the past week the Kootenay Boundary had multiple size 2 - 3.5 avalanches being triggered with similar characteristics. 

👉There is another storm warning that has been issued for the West Kootenays, bringing up to 15-30cm of new snow, starting this evening and into Friday afternoon. 

Avalanche Canada Report:

❄Recently formed storm slabs are expected to remain reactive to human triggering on Wednesday. The region continues to deal with a tricky persistent slab problem and very large avalanches remain possible. We are seeing these on steep, rocky and wind affected areas. CONSERVATIVE TERRAIN SELECTION REMAINS ESSENTIAL!

Travel and Terrain Advice:

👉Continue to make conservative terrain choices while the storm snow settles and stabilizes.
👉Be aware of the potential for large avalanches due to the presence of a persistent slab.
👉Avoid steep, rocky, and wind effected areas where triggering slabs is more likely.
👉It's critical to stay disciplined and choose only well supported, low consequence lines.

Get the full report by visiting Avalanche Canada 

Snowpack Updates

SOS Full Color

The State of the Snowpack connects our community with local snow science experts who will break down what they are seeing in our home snowpack.

When we look at the winter we look at a narrative, a story that plays out over time, with each weather event being a different chapter. Every seasonal event; precipitation event, wind event, that’s a different chapter within the greater narrative within the story of our winter. This is the story of our snowpack. And we’re bringing it to you!

To find out more about State of The Snowpack head to 

  • State of the Snowpack - Dec. 23, 2021

    Nelson, BC
  • State of the Snowpack - March 8 2021

    Judson Wright, Kootenay Backcountry Guides
  • State of the Snowpack - February 23, 2021

    Jason Wishlow, Lead Avalanche Forecaster Whitewater Ski Resort
  • State of the Snowpack January 9th, 2021

    Judson Wright, Lead Guide Kootenay Backcountry Guides
  • State of the Snowpack - December 9th, 2020

    Judson Wright, Lead Guide Kootenay Backcountry Guides
State of the Snowpack

FREE Information & Learning

In these informational videos, we break down a variety of backcountry touring topics. From how to do effectively do a fine search companion rescue, to talking about hazards and terrain traps, to how to collect free information. Scroll down or through the slider images below. For more free information and learning, check out Avalanche Canada Avy Savy

Companion Rescue

How To Effectively Do a Fine Search

In this video, lead guide Judson Wright, explains how to effectively do a fine search for a single person buried under the snow.

Terrain Traps

Hummingbird Pass

What are terrain traps? What are the consequences? How can we better avoid/reduce our risk/exposure?

Cell Phone Interference


Electronic interference with transceiver is a real thing. Watch this video to see what happens when I place my beacon near my phone.

Collecting Free Info

tips + tricks for the walk up

In this video series, we share some valuable tips on how to collect free information about the snowpack and how to plan a safe ride down. 

Companion Rescue: How To Effectively Do a Fine Search

In this video, lead guide Judson Wright, explains how to effectively do a fine search for a single person buried under the snow.

Companion rescue is a crucial skill that all winter backcountry recreationists need. You never want to use it, but you should have it totally dialed. Of course, the number one goal is to avoid being caught in an avalanche but if it ever happens to your group, you’ll want to know exactly what to do.

If you would like to learn more, register for our Companion Rescue Skills course. In this one day course, you will get all the latest information on how to best respond to having one of our touring partners buried in an avalanche. You will also get plenty of time to practice your companion rescue skills. Our expert guides will give you feedback on ways you can improve your transceiver searches, probing skills, organizing a digging team, and what to do once you have removed someone from under the snow. 

Still not convinced? Check out Avalanche Canada’s 8 Reasons You Should Take a Companion Rescue Skills Course

What are terrain traps?

What are the consequences?

How can we better avoid/reduce our risk/exposure?

Hummingbird Pass at Whitewater Ski Resort Backcountry is a popular route to access Evening Ridge and can be a bit of a highway at times. We wanted to talk about the many consequential hazards that are lurking above, to provide all users (tourers and snowshowers) some awareness to increase their safety in the backcountry. 

We also point out an alternate route, that reduces your exposure but gets you to the same place. 

Electronic interference with transceiver is a real thing. 

Oscilloscope visualization of random noise being picked up by an avalanche transceiver. The flat-topped signal is from a transmitting beacon, the pointed spikes are from a source of active interference.

If you don't recognize the phrase electronic noise, it's time to get acquainted. This two-word phrase has a big impact on the performance and accuracy of your avalanche transceiver, the one piece of equipment that absolutely cannot go bad when you or your backcountry partner gets buried.

The rule of thumb is to keep any possible sources of interference, passive or active, 20cm (about 8 inches) away from your transceiver when it's in transmit mode and 50cm (about arm's length) when in search mode. This is particularly important when searching, as interference could impact your transceiver's ability to determine the correct distance and direction of your target. For more info check out this article from BCA

Welcome to our video series on collecting free information in the backcountry. What is free information? Free information is safe, easily accessible, and timely.

In this 1st video, we explain what free information is. Your backcountry tour begins from the comforts of your home before you step foot on the mountain. This is also the first step in the daily process - check the weather and get the Avalanche Condition and MIN reports from Avalanche Canada.

Other topics covered in the Free Info series include:

  • Reading the bulletin
  • Hand Shears
  • Burp Tests
  • Testing Microfeatures
  • Ridge Top + Cornices

Backcountry Safety Tips

Gear Reviews

Avalanche Saws 101: What to know

Probes 101: What to know

Avalanche Shovels 101: What to know

Avalanche Transceivers 101: What to know

Gear Reviews

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