Forecaster Observation - Canyon Creek, Whitefish Range

Location Name: 
Forecaster Observation - Canyon Creek, Whitefish Range
Whitefish Range - Southern (south of Coal Creek)
Date and time of avalanche (best estimate if unknown): 
Thu, 12/29/2016 - 12:09
Location Map: 

Observation made by: Forecaster
Avalanche Observations
Avalanche Type: 
Trigger type: 
Crown Height: 
1 ft
Weak Layer: 
Within storm snow
Avalanche Width: 
Near Treeline
6 200ft.
Bed Surface: 
Old Snow
Avalanche Length: 
Number of people caught: 
Number of partial burials: 
More detailed information about the avalanche: 

FAC staff travelled to the Skook Chute area in the Canyon Creek drainage to visit the site of a skier triggered avalanche that occurred on Thursday December 29. FAC staff spoke with one member of the party who provided details of this incident. 

Preliminary observations:

  • A party of 2 skiers planned to ski the third Skook chute (from skiers right) of the Skook Chutes.
  • One skier, skier "A", entered the chute and attempted to ski cut from skiers left to skiers right.
  • During this traverse he initiated what appears to be a wind slab avalanche that was formed by cross loading. The slide swept the skier off his feet and pushed him down the hill. Skier "A" remained on top of the slide for the entire event.
  • Debris and skier came to rest on the "lower road" of Canyon Creek. Skier "A" had one arm above the debris which he used to remove snow from around his face and mouth. He was quickly dug out by 2 skiers who were nearby. Skier"A" was uninjured but did end up losing a ski.
  • When the debris crossed the "upper road" of Canyon Creek skier "A" remembers witnessing an individual, without a backpack, getting knocked off his  feet by the debris.
  • Immediately following the avalanche the other member of the party, skier "B", initiated a rescue. He was concerned about a potential secondary avalanche and kept his transceiver in transmit mode until he reached the bed surface/ debris whereupon he then switched to receive. He followed the debris down to where the debris split and diverged down two different paths. He followed the skiers right path to the lower road whereupon he realized that his partner was pushed down the skiers left path. Soon thereafter he and his partner reunited. 

FAC staff would like to thank the 2 skiers involved for their assistance in providing details of this incident.

Avalanche observation video: 

December 30, 2016 - Avalanche site visit

Weather Observations
Blowing Snow: 
Cloud Cover: 
25% of the sky covered by clouds
Air temperature: 
Below Freezing
Wind Speed: 
Light (Twigs in motion)
Air temperature trend: 
Wind Direction: