Think snow!

November 4, 2010

With weather-watchers betting on the coldest and snowiest B.C. winter in decades, it’s time to think about winter travel on Burnaby Mountain.

And SFU’s safety and emergency teams have two key messages:
  • Don’t even think of driving on Burnaby Mountain in winter without good snow tires.
  • Check the weather forecasts and SFU’s Road Conditions before you head for the mountain.


For road conditions, check or call 604-444-4929.

As ever, snow alerts will be posted on the main website of along with the best information SFU can get from TransLink on the outlook for bus service in the snow.

The alerts will also advise you if classes or exams have been or may be cancelled.

And the SFU Alerts system will be used to send messages about emergencies and closures to students, faculty and staff.

University crews have been busy preparing for a winter of severe weather:
  • SFU has updated its severe weather plan:
  • Gates have been installed at parking lots on Burnaby Mountain to manage a controlled release of traffic and expedite a safer drive off campus. Staff at the gates will indicate safe routes.
  • Bus routes have been reviewed and options for re-routing buses have been identified. The goal will be to keep public transit moving by avoiding the problem routes.
  • Emergency volunteers have been equipped with radios to access up-to-date information. In severe weather, they will set up a reception point in the Saywell Hall Atrium and circulate where students congregate to provide information on road conditions, food services, first aid and, if necessary, availability of overnight shelter.
  • The homepage will be updated regularly to provide status updates. As needed, such updates and alerts will cover conditions at the Surrey and Vancouver campuses as well.


Now faculty, students and staff can do their winter planning, too:
  • Register for SFU Alerts to receive class-cancellation and emergency announcements. If you are already registered, update your info as necessary. You can do both by way of
  • If you drive, your vehicle should have proper snow tires. So-called "all-season" tires just won’t do it on snowy, slushy or icy mountain roads. Think about carrying a set of snow-chains as backup. Don’t try to drive the mountain with summer tires on snow-days. Carry a snow shovel and emergency kit.
  • Be aware that reduced use of environmentally damaging salt and chemicals to clear snow on the Burnaby campus will mean a bit more slush on roads on snowy days.
  • Winterize your vehicle, and check out SFU’s safe winter driving tips at
  • If you have not winterized your vehicle, leave it parked and take public transit or arrange a ride with a colleague.
  • Know that if classes are cancelled, that does not automatically mean that the university is closed. If the university remains open, faculty and staff are expected to be on the job as usual. If you have an urgent reason to stay home or to leave work early, consult with your supervisor.
  • If you have an urgent need to leave the Burnaby campus in snowy conditions, get to the parking lot as soon as possible. Cars will be released in batches of 15, in rotation from each lot, and directed to the safest route. This is similar to systems used on the Sea to Sky and Coquihalla highways. Your commute off the hill may be delayed, but should be safer than what we have experienced in the past.
  • For answers to frequently asked questions:
  • For more information on severe weather preparedness:


If you have additional questions you can call SFU Environmental Health and Safety at 778-782-4978 or email


Commenting is closed
Comment Guidelines

Mai Fruscalzo

Are UniverCity residents able to be 'alerted' too by email/other means?


Steve Ray

Hi Mai,

Sorry SFU Alerts is not available to UniverCity residence. However UniverCity's office is informed whenever we send out an alert so they can pass it on to the residence.

Steve Ray

Public Affairs & Media Relations.

Keith Gilbert

I will not be able to take this program seriously until the university requires snow tires during the winter season for all vehicles coming to campus on a regular basis. Snow tires should be a requirement, just as is a parking pass, to be able to regularly park on campus.

Every winter when it snows people without proper tires make it dangerous or impossible to leave the hill.


I never received any of the Alerts via text message, phone calls to any of my phone numbers home or cell last year when there was a system check or the year before that when there were lots of snow and the school was cancelled. I even checked my and all my information is correct on there. so Who can I contact inorder to see why I was not contacted? and why the system does not send me notifications of closure of the school ?

Please let me know

Thank you

Steve Ray

Sandy, Contact me and I'll look into your situation.

Steve Ray

Hi Keith,

I'm not sure SFU has the authority to mandate snow tires. If they did, how would you suggest going about enforcing it?


RE: Tires

Passholders for fall and spring could have a mandatory inspection completed to prove winter tires are in use before being elligible for a parking pass. Perhaps for Fall if an inspection does not pass before the said date, the pass is revoked.

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