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snoboy

More bad Canadian avalanche news.

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Avalanches kill four in B.C.

Last Updated Wed, 26 Mar 2003 21:12:37

 

VALEMOUNT, B.C. - Three snowmobilers died in an avalanche near Fernie, B.C. on Wednesday afternoon and a heli-skier has died in a slide near Valemount.

 

The Fernie avalanche buried six snowmobilers in an area known as Fairy Meadows. RCMP Sgt. Steve Roberston says rescuers were only able to save three of the six.

 

"Three of the party were buried quite deep and were dug out deceased. A fourth individual was flown out by helicopter to the Fernie hospital with non-life- threatening injuries."

 

The three men who died were all in their 30's. Two of them were from Fernie, while the other man was from the Crow's Nest Pass area.

 

In the other accident, a 45-year-old heli-skier died Wednesday, after being buried in an avalanche on Mt. Terry Fox near the B.C.-Alberta border.

 

The victim was one member of a group of 10 French, Swiss and British tourists skiing in the backcountry near Valemount, B.C., which is near Jasper.

 

The avalanche happened in the afternoon. Two helicopters and 15 avalanche technicians and guides were dispatched to help rescue the man. He was buried for about 25 minutes. He was pronounced dead at the Valemount Medical Clinic. The man's name has not been released.

 

The RCMP says other members of the ski party are traumatized but otherwise OK.

 

Snow conditions throughout the Rockies are worsening. The avalanche risk is considered 'considerable' in many backcountry areas.

 

So far this year 22 people have died in avalanches in B.C., including seven Alberta high school students who died in a slide near Revelstoke on Feb. 1.

 

Written by CBC News Online staff

 

Source

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I was at the hill today, and I saw more debris out of bounds than I have seen all winter! Excellent skiing though!! fruit.gif

 

Aparently there was a skier involvement in a post control release at Whistler on Sunday too. In the X-mas trees for thos of you who know the area. The guy was buried (partially or fully I haven't heard) but OK. smile.gif

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AlpineK said:

 

There sure are a lot of Fairy Meadows. cantfocus.gif

 

I was just gonna say the same thing...

 

The one in the cirque and the one in the Adamants and the one near Fernie and the one near Second Beach in Stanley Park at night shocked.gif and the one...

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WTF is goin on? Last year we had one of the highest death tolls from climbers in a given season and now this year with backcountry skiers (I don't put snowmobilers in the same category) ! Just dumb luck and poor snow conditions? Dare I say anything more? Definately some extremely competent people have lost their lives this season in the backcountry of BC. What gives? cry.gif

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Scary, Scary snowpack. Some friends of mine were up heli skiing in BC last week and had some descriptions of some pretty good sized slides that were, for that particular slope, probably 100 year slides on the basis of the runout and probable age of groups of trees they took out. With all of the alternation this season between cold and clear to heavy dumps and the like, it is just a difficult snowpack since many of the layers are deep. A reminder that we are constantly mitigating risk, not removing it. A bigdrink.gif for those who passed on and those who knew them.

 

 

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Just got back last night from spending a week at the Fairy Meadows hut in the Selkirks. Had the time of my life skiing the best snow and most beautiful terrain I've ever been around.

We started the week being extremely cautious, digging pits everywhere and staying primarily in the trees, but as the week progressed and the weather turned from freshies to cold and clear bluebird days we headed into the alpine, again digging plenty of pits....there were obvious windslab layers at 2' down and again at 4' down, they sheared cleanly but took a lot of force for them to release. During the week we had no sloughs propigate into avies, no 'whoomps', and only saw natural releases on south facing aspects.

When the week was over we had skied just about all the big lines and tours around the area, Unicol, Friendship Col, Pioneer Col, Pioneer and Sentinal Peaks, the Houdini Needles Chutes...etc etc.

I think all of us in our group considered ourselves to be very lucky to hit the Fairy Meadows region during a rare period of relatively stable snow and weather this season.

 

Longer trip report found here:

 

http://www.turns-all-year.com/cgi-bin/yabb/YaBB.pl?board=tr0303;action=display;num=1049103345

 

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Nice Pete! Even the practice slopes just out front can be awesome. Did much of the same activities you mentioned there last year, and finished w/ a fun traverse over to Great Cairn hut and Sir Sandford. I've heard of people going in there and just being hut-bound all week. Good to see you got out. You didn't happen to see some grey Nalgene waterbottles there, one w/ an AAC sticker on them? I think I left them there on accident.

 

Too bad Fairy Meadows has become such a popular hut.

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sorry, didn't notice any spare nalgenes lyin around the hut...but then again most of the time I was at the hut I was sleeping or hanging out next to the keg of guiness

bigdrink.gifbigdrink.gif

I know its popular terrain up there, but the lottery system to get the hut is fine by me....keeps the crowds down...when I got up to Unicol there were tracks all over the low angle terrain beyond the granite glacier...heli skiers were fighting for freshies the ridgeline over from us while our hut crew had all the powder we could want.

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Lucky fucker. We got skunked in Kokanee this year by Extreme avalanche hazard. It seems that if you go to the Selkirks every year, you get a week like yours every third of fourth year. Cheers, sounds like you made memories of a lifetime.

 

pete_a said:

..Added a few pictures from my trip to the cc.com photo gallery, more to come later. enjoy!

 

http://www.cascadeclimbers.com/plab/showgallery.php?cat=510&thumb=1

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