By John Rune, KCR News

One of Nelson’s most experienced wilderness guides says the risks for skiers and snowboarders in the West Kootenay backcountry are too high to take any risks this December.

“Now it’s really sketchy,” said John Buffrey to KCR News. “It’s really worth emphasizing people not expose themselves to any avalanche risk at all. Like, it’s as tumultuous as I’ve seen it in a decade.”

Buffrey said light snowfalls along with clear and cold weather have created a series of stratified layers, apt to collapse with a skier in the start zone being the catalyst.

“Even Ymir proper would be hazardous, very hazardous. The risk would be considerable, is the right word,” Buffrey said, pointing to mid-January as the first time in the next little while that it might be safer.

Over the past decade, around 10 people per year have lost their lives in the B.C. backcountry. It’s been a slow decrease, attributed to better safety programs and increased knowledge.

‘Now, it’s really sketchy’–Nelson backcountry guide John Buffrey on dangerous conditions in the Kootenays right now