Friday, 9 March 2012

Snow Avalanches!

With all this snow we've had this year, CN has blasted the snow on the mountain a few times.  On March 3rd, I seen the CN snow plows on the tracks near the house, and heard the helicopter flying around the mountain and knew they were going to do another blasting.  Of course I got all excited because I had just got a camera the day before, and I thought this would be a good opportunity to figure it out some.

Well, the day was quite overcast, so it's harder to see the snow come down, but I went out anyways.  It was rather disappointing, thought because hardly any snow came off the mountain.  I've seen it where massive amounts of snow come billowing down the mountain, and it is extremely exciting.

Here are a few pictures anyways of one of the blasts last week.

First off, here is a picture of the mountain that I took a few days ago while the weather was nice.  Kitselas Mountain.

They fly over the mountain and drop an explosive, then take off.  A few minutes later you will see a puff of smoke, and then hear the big "Boom!" when the sound hits you.  It's quite loud.

The cloud of smoke and snow gets bigger,

and bigger.  Then snow starts down.

More snow comes down the rock face.

Pouring like a giant waterfall.

And then it's just kinda like snow clouds.

That was just a small one.  Hardly worth taking pictures of.  But when you see a huge one that looks like the whole section of the mountain is coming down it is very impressive.

The other day while coming home on the cable car, we seen one of these huge ones come down.  This was not one caused by men dropping explosive, but by mother nature herself shaking snow off her mountain.  We watched as the snow boiled down the mountain, billowing and swirling.  About the same time it came close to the bottom, we watched a train come around the corner at the base of the mountain.  The avalanche must not have quite made the bottom and the train came through ok.  It was very exciting to watch, and the first time I've seen one come down from the cable car hanging over the river.  Also the first I've seen a big one with the train going by.

Then this morning, while I was getting the kids into their jackets to take the cable car across the river, I could hear a train coming in the distance.  You can hear the engines long before you see the train.  All of a sudden, we heard this terrific boom!  Looking out the window you couldn't see much because it was quite overcast today, and the clouds hugging quite low on the mountain.  But a minute later, the train went by with snow plastered over the front of the engine.  WOW!  There must have been an avalanche that crossed the tracks ahead of the train, and the train hit it!  I can only imagine how the conductor was feeling.

I tried to take a picture of the train, but I had my camera on the wrong setting from taking pictures of egg candling the night before so it came out way to bright.  But you can see the snow stuck to the front and top of the engine. ... kinda.

I tried to take a picture of the base of the slide this morning when I took the kids to the bus.  Roy, the operator running the cable car was kind enough to stop for me to hang out the window and take a picture.  I pointed out where I think the snow crossed the tracks, but there may have been other areas where we can't see from there because of the trees.

As much as I would love to go and see exactly where the snow crossed the tracks, I think it would be wise to resist the urge to go for a hike down there.

A couple weeks ago, my husband and I climbed a little ways up the base of the slide.  I took pictures and blogged about it here:

Here's a couple video's I took last year when they were doing the blasting.

And another one, slightly longer video

In the spring time, as the weather gets warmer, the mountain starts waking up, and you can hear and see lots of avalanches.  It has to be one of my favourite times of year.


  1. kinda cool power but kind of scary too I think!

  2. Well, were far enough away to be very safe, but close enough to have a good view. I love it!