Great News for Okanagan Skiers
December 23 2016
A new remotely triggered avalanche control system will greatly reduce the number of highway closures along the Trans-Canada Highway this winter between Sicamous and Revelstoke.
As part of the B.C. on the Move initiative, Todd Stone, Minister of Transportation,has announced a new pilot project in the Three Valley Gap area west of Revelstoke. Four towers have been installed that will allow avalanche technicians to remote trigger avalanches at any time of day regardless of weather conditions.
Traditionally, helicopters have been used for avalanche control along highway corridors. This new method is incredibly simple and dramatically less expensive, allowing much more frequent blasts, thus reducing the risks of major avalanches disrupting road traffic.
“If we have an avalanche closure at night or in adverse weather, we are actually not able to fly in the helicopter till the next morning or until the weather improves, so the highway would have to stay closed that entire period of time,” explained Robb Andersen who manages snow, avalanche, and weather programs for the Ministry of Transportation.
Okanagan skiers fond of Revelstoke Mountain Resort are rejoicing. The new remote systems will make travelling through the corridor safer for motorists and will reduce the number of long closures that have contributed to the phenomenon of being “Revelstuck”.
“It’s often bittersweet for people who read the weather forecast and know we’re getting hammered with snow but don’t want to risk getting stranded on the highway getting here or unable to get home.,” said Nico Leenders, Marketing Manager, Revelstoke Mountain Resort. “This new system, will give drivers more peace of mind knowing that closures will occur far less often, and if they do, they’ll be a lot shorter.”
The installation of the four towers is part of a $6 million initiative that will see an additional four towers installed by next winter.