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PaulB

Fatal Avalanche near Nelson, BC

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The King5 report:

 

Two skiers killed in B.C. avalanche 03/18/2003

Associated Press

 

NELSON, British Columbia - An avalanche in the Grizzly Bowl area of Kokanee Glacier Provincial Park in southeast British Columbia rolled over four skiers, killing two of them Monday afternoon.

 

Early reports suggested that the dead skiers were two men from Seattle.

The wall of snow in buried the two skiers who had hiked into the area with two others to ski out. Canadian authorities scrambled to reach the buried skiers, but it was too late. Both men were dead when B.C. Parks and police rescuers reached them, the RCMP said in a statement.

 

The victims were not identified except as ?residents of the USA.? Police said relatives were being contacted.

 

Eighteen people have now been killed in B.C. avalanches this winter, including 14 in the Revelstoke region, about 90 miles north of Nelson.

Seven teens from Calgary were killed in Glacier Park on Feb. 1, and seven skiers and snowboarders were killed in the back country north of Revelstoke on Jan. 20.

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sorry its taken me so long to post on this.

they've identified the two

I've cut and pasted the BC article on it.

 

from vancouver province

Two Seattle men were identified Tuesday as the victims of a back-country avalanche in Kokanee Glacier provincial park.

 

James Schmid, 42, and Ronald Gregg, 55, died after being buried in a slide Monday afternoon in the Grizzly Bowl area of the park, about 20 kilometres north of Nelson in the southern B.C. Interior.

 

A total of 19 people now have been killed by avalanches in the B.C. back country since October, said Evan Manners, operations manager of the Canadian Avalanche Association, which provides warning bulletins three times weekly.

 

The park is about 170 kilometres south of Glacier National Park near Revelstoke, where seven Calgary-area teenagers were killed last month in an avalanche while on a high school ski trip.

 

An avalanche also killed three Americans and four Canadians on Jan. 20 while skiing on provincial Crown land about 30 kilometres from the site where the Alberta teenagers were killed.

 

The warning bulletin for an area including the provincial park where the slide occurred recently had been downgraded to high from extreme, said Manners.

 

The rating for most of western Canada last week was extreme because of a "significant storm that came in the previous week dumped up to a metre to metre and a half in the alpine," said Manners. "Now we're slowly improving."

 

The danger rating in effect at the time of the avalanche indicates "that's a time when serious caution needs to be exercised if you are out there at all," said Manners.

 

The hazard rating was downgraded on March 14, he said.

 

Initial reports suggested the slide Monday buried two skiers out of a party of four.

 

A search by B.C. parks officials and the RCMP search-and-rescue team found the victims but they were already dead.

 

RCMP said they believed the men had hiked up to the area with plans to ski out.

 

British Columbia's coroner's service is also investigating.

 

The avalanche association's bulletins classify the risk levels as low, moderate, considerable, high and extreme. The rating for much of western Canada is usually considerable, said Manners.

 

The B.C. government recently agreed to fund extraordinary risk-advisory bulletins put out by the association, meaning that if something significantly changes between the usual three bulletins -- such as freezing rain, severe temperature variations or increased avalanche activity -- the provincial cash will fund additional bulletins.

 

The provincial government also launched a review of avalanche safety in the back country, bringing together scientists and ski industry groups.

 

The review, expected to completed by June 30, will look at avalanche forecasting and warning bulletins, public awareness and research.

 

"There's definitely an instability (in the mountains)," one of the rescuers told Global News Monday evening. "You've got to really be careful with the terrain that you pick to ski in."

 

MORE INFO:Canadian Avalanche Association

 

 

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frown.gif OR is cool......

 

Man killed in B.C. slide used to risky conditions: brother

 

NELSON, B.C. (CP) - One of two Americans killed in a B.C. avalanche in Kokanee Glacier provincial park owned a company that sells equipment for back-country enthusiasts.

Ronald Gregg, 55, died along with James Schmid, 42, after being buried in a slide Monday afternoon that police believe was triggered by other skiers in their group. The avalanche struck in the Grizzly Bowl area of the park, an often-skied band of sparse trees, open faces and large gullies. It is about 20 kilometres north of Nelson in the southern B.C. Interior.

 

Gregg was the president of a Seattle-based company called Outdoor Research and an experienced skier whose work often took him into the back country, said his brother, Bob Gregg.

 

"Spending as much time as he did in risky areas and remote areas there was always this possibility," Bob Gregg said. "Any time the phone rings after midnight, you're always worried it could be about Ron. This time it was."

 

Ron Gregg was part of a group of six skiers from Seattle. Of the "close knit group," each had a minimum of 15 years experience in back-country skiing, said RCMP Const. Heather Macdonald.

 

She said they arrived in the park on Saturday, skied in the area over the weekend, venturing into the Grizzly Bowl on Monday.

 

Macdonald said the group was well outfitted and took avalanche precautions they believed would keep them safe.

 

Based on interviews with the four survivors, Macdonald said police believe one of the skiers in the group triggered the avalanche.

 

"What we believe happened is that one of the skiers made a kick-turn (a downhill turn), which initiated the slide," Macdonald said. She added the avalanche was 239 metres wide, 229 metres long and had a total vertical fall of 140 metres.

 

The avalanche started just after noon Monday, 130 metres above the group on a steep headwall when three of the skiers were in the Grizzly Bowl. The other three were up above the slide and were not caught in it.

 

One of the three men hit by the avalanche was buried in snow up to his armpits and managed to rescue himself with a shovel.

"The other two fell in the path of looming snow," Macdonald said.

 

One of the victims was buried in 1.5 metres of snow, the other in three metres.

 

In about 50 minutes the survivors had located the victims and when attempts to revive them failed, they returned to their cabin to call police by satellite phone, Macdonald said.

 

Due to the threat of more slides in the Grizzly Bowl area, police requested the assistance of two avalanche experts from the local Ministry of Transportation office. The pair were flown in by helicopter.

 

"One of the concerns was that the area is very unstable right now, given the weather situation and snow conditions," said RCMP Corporal Grace Arnott. "Part of what they had to do was trigger further avalanches to ensure the safety of the rescuers."

 

After detonating a number of smaller slides, the pair helped recover the avalanche victims with the help of the RCMP dog master.

 

Gregg said it was the first time his married brother had been caught in an avalanche, although he had participated in numerous rescues. He was confident the skiers would have been carrying the proper safety equipment.

 

A total of 19 people now have been killed by avalanches in the B.C. back country since October, said Evan Manners, operations manager of the Canadian Avalanche Association, which provides warning bulletins three times weekly.

 

The park is about 170 kilometres south of Glacier National Park near Revelstoke, where seven Calgary-area teenagers were killed last month in an avalanche while on a high school ski trip.

 

An avalanche also killed three Americans and four Canadians on Jan. 20 while skiing on provincial Crown land about 30 kilometres from the site where the Alberta teenagers were killed.

 

The warning bulletin for an area including the provincial park where the slide occurred recently had been downgraded to high from extreme, said Manners.

 

The rating for most of western Canada last week was extreme because of a "significant storm that came in the previous week dumped up to a metre to metre and a half in the alpine," said Manners. "Now we're slowly improving."

 

The danger rating in effect at the time of the avalanche indicates "that's a time when serious caution needs to be exercised if you are out there at all," said Manners.

 

The hazard rating was downgraded on March 14, he said.

 

 

 

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This is pretty good for a news report, based on the actual report (including pictures and diagrams) that BobInc. and I and three others were given last Thursday night from three of the four survivors, who are good friends. A service and wake were held for our friend James Schmid this weekend. Standing room only service and wonderful remarks. Bob did an excellent job explaining the accident to the audience at the service.

 

This is a tough one to say the least, and provides pause for reflection.

 

John Sharp

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