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Avalanche Control

British Columbia - Winter 2012

While filming for new episodes of the "Stormhunters' TV series for The Weather Network, we filmed with several different avalanche control teams in British Columbia. Each team is responsible for different mountain passes in the province and each uses different techniques to bring down small man made avalanches before large, natural ones occur.

Rogers Pass

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The view at Rogers Pass, B.C.

The 105mm howitzer used by the 1st Regiment Royal Canadian Horse Artillery in Rogers Pass to do their avalanche control.

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Hanging out with the 1st Regiment Royal Canadian Horse Artillery in Rogers Pass.

Up in the mountains in Rogers Pass, British Columbia

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The avalanche control team digging snow profiles and "water-skiing" behind the Snowcat.

One of the many snow sheds along the Trans-Canada Highway. Rogers Pass is home to the largest mobile avalanche control program in the world.

 

Kootenay Pass

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My ride to the top of one of the mountains along Kootenay Pass, B.C.

In the helicopter with the Kootenay Pass avalanche control team

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Recent avalanche deposits. This bench, cut into the side of the mountain pass, absorbs a lot of an avalanche's energy and reduces the impacts on the road below.

Looking down from the avalanche bench to the road along Kootenay Pass.

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Analyzing the snow pack by digging into the side of a mountaintop and looking closely at the different layers of snow.

 

Bear Pass, Stewart B.C.

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The mountains along Bear Pass, on the road to Stewart, B.C. They mainly use helicopter bombing to control avalanches here.

We were supposed to fly with the avalanche control team to detonate an overhanging cornice of snow with explosives, but clouds moved in and we couldn't fly the helicopter up to the site.