CALGARY -- Those planning to head to the mountains this weekend are urged to use caution as avalanche warnings remain in effect for the mountain regions in southern Alberta and British Columbia.

Recent storms that blew through Western Canada dropped a significant amount of snow on top of a weak, persistent layer within the snowpack.

The warnings are for both users of backcountry and front-country avalanche terrain, and are widespread.

The areas include:

  • Kananaskis Country
  • Banff-Yoho-Kootenay National Parks
  • Waterton Lakes National Park
  • South Rockies
  • Sea-to-Sky
  • South Coast Inland
  • Purcells
  • Lizard Range-Flathead

Parks Canada says the danger rating forecast is considerable to moderate for Banff, Yoho and Kootenay National Parks through Saturday.

That means anyone in the mountains should carefully evaluate snowpack and use cautious and conservative route-finding techniques.

Parks Canada says avoiding the urge to ski fresh powder on big features will be the most important factor in avoiding an avalanche.

It encourages sticking to lower-angled slopes with little overhead hazard and says there have been a few close calls already.

The likelihood of natural avalanches has lessened but the likelihood of human-triggered avalanches remains high.

Avalanche Canada has also had a special public warning in effect since Monday for the Sea-to-Sky region, South Rockies, inland of the south coast of B.C., Kananaskis Country, Purcell Mountains, Lizard Range-Flathead and Waterton Lakes National Park.

Before hitting the mountains, backcountry users are encouraged to check Avalanche Canada’s forecast.

With files from the Canadian Press.