Heavy snowfall creates avalanche conditions in Tombstone

An avalanche warning has been issued for Tombstone Park. The park, a popular destination for sledders and skiers, received a 100 centimetre dump of snow on the weekend.

An avalanche warning has been issued for Tombstone Park.

The park, a popular destination for sledders and skiers, received a 100-centimetre dump of snow between March 2 and 12.

Kilometre 58 to 120 on the Dempster Highway have been put on special alert for the upcoming weekend.

Fresh snow has fallen over top of a weak snowbase creating an unstable snowpack, said Greg Johnson of the Canadian Avalanche Centre, in a release.

The bottom layer, which has been exposed to frost-and-freeze cycles during the recent spate of warm weather, is particularly susceptible to the weight of the fresh snow.

It’s a rare situation for that region, said Klondike parks superintendent Gordon Macrae.

“This area usually gets a consistent snowpack,” he said.

“Normally we don’t get huge amounts of fresh snow and this mild weather is pretty unusual.”

Yukoner Kirstie Simpson, of the Canadian Avalanche Rescue Dog Association, has been put on alert.

Simpson and her dog recently returned from patrolling BC’s Callaghan Valley for avalanches during the 2010 Olympics.

Macrae is particularly concerned about Diamond Days, a festival on March 23rd that is expected to attract at least 30 sleds to the park, he said.

The government is encouraging people who use the park to carry avalanche safety equipment, ride on low-angle terrain and travel with someone who has avalanche training.

On Saturday, two men were killed by an avalanche in Revelstoke, BC during a snowmobile competition.

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