REVELSTOKE, B.C. – Heavy new snowfall in recent days followed by a warming trend then a sudden storm has for the second time this year led to extended highway closures, helping Revelstoke earn its winter nickname – Revelstuck.
Parks Canada spokesperson Omar McDadi told the Times Review that a sudden “massive change” in the weather brought high winds and severe snow on the evening of Feb. 12 caused the sudden closure of the Trans-Canada in and around Glacier National Park at 9 p.m. after two natural avalanches released.
The stretch had only been open for about six hours since the previous avalanche-caused closure.
McDadi said the unexpected slides were a “canary in the coal mine” for more slide activity, prompting highway crews to halt traffic and shepherd them into safe spots on the highway, away from the 144 slide paths on the stretch of the Trans-Canada from Revelstoke to Golden.
McDadi said the vast majority of stranded travellers had access to services at Glacier Park Lodge. He also said those stranded in other spots on the road were not physically cut off from the outside world by slides, just halted at safe spots on the highway by road crews, who delivered gasoline to vehicles that were stuck on the road overnight.
The stranded westbound travellers were scheduled to be cleared from the Revelstoke to Golden stretch by about 1:30 p.m. Sunday, but the road remains closed east of Revelstoke.
As of 9:20 a.m. Sunday, Drive BC estimated the highway will reopen at 4 p.m. on Sunday, Feb. 13. However, they are expressing low confidence in that estimate.
West of Revelstoke on Highway 1, delays of up to 20 minutes in either direction are expected due to maintenance work.
Further east, the highway is closed from Field to the Alberta border due to avalanches. There is no official estimate on when that stretch of the highway will reopen.
North of Revelstoke, Highway 23 is closed just south of the Mica Dam due to avalanche hazard.
To the east, Highway 93 is closed in both directions from Radium Hot Springs to the Alberta border due to avalanches. No reopening estimate is available.
See the B.C. government traveller information website DriveBC for up to date information.