Back country users are being advised to use caution and avoid avalanche terrain in the mountain parks this weekend as the risk of a slide in those areas is high to extreme.

Parks Canada says dangerous avalanche conditions exist in a number of areas including:

Officials say the chance of a natural avalanche in those areas is likely and the possibility of a human triggered avalanche is even more likely.

Snowpacks in several areas are sitting on weak bases and have been further compromised by new snow and rain.

Parks Canada says a ‘historic avalanche cycle’ is underway and avalanches are widespread with some slabs running well into avalanche runouts.

“This is the biggest avalanche cycle that any of us who work in our department have seen in 25 years, particularly starting yesterday. We’ve seen avalanches run across Lake Louise and break the lake open. We’ve seen avalanches breaking forest in many areas, typically running in areas that we would consider typical, like mapped areas, but running to what we would call the historical extent of the runout zone so breaking trees,” said Grant Statham from Parks Canada.

Avalanche Canada says the risk of an avalanche is also high in the Kananaskis area and travel is not recommended at the treeline and alpine levels.

Recreational users should avoid avalanche terrain and travelling below slopes with cornices overhead.

For the latest information on the avalanche danger in the mountain parks, click HERE.