12/25/2014 05:49 EST | Updated 02/24/2015 05:59 EST

Avalanche Canada issues warning for backcountry users

Avalanche Canada has issued a special warning for people in B.C.'s backcountry planning to take advantage of the holidays.

Recent snowfalls coupled with winds and warm temperatures have placed a heavy load on a fragile snowpack, Avalanche Canada forecaster Joe Lammers said in a news release. People could easily trigger numerous small avalanches, the release said.

"The wild swings in weather this season have left a mix of smooth crusts and persistent weak layers in our snowpack," Lammers said.

“This complex snowpack has the potential to surprise backcountry users with large avalanches even though riding conditions will be good. People were triggering slides even as they approached slopes."

The warnings have been issued for:

- North Rockies.

- Cariboos.

- North Columbia.

- South Columbia.

- Kootenay-Boundary.

- Purcells.

- South Rockies.

- Lizard and Flathead.

- South Coast Inland regions.

Avalanche Canada recommends backcountry users avoid large, steep slopes; avoid travelling where other users are on slopes above them; and re-group in safe zones away from avalanche run-outs until conditions improve. 

The organization also reminded backcountry users that everyone in the group must be equipped with essential avalanche safety equipment — an avalanche transceiver, a probe and a shovel — and practice using these tools.