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Two die in BC avalanche

Staff writers
March 21, 2012 — Two people are dead after an avalanche crashed down near Nelson, BC. Experts are warning skiers to beware of spring-like conditions.

Spring-like weather could trigger more avalanches
Spring-like weather could trigger more avalanches

A man and a woman were killed Wednesday when a large avalanche rolled over a group of heli-skiers in British Columbia's Bonnington Mountain range. 

The rest of the group, including the guide, were rescued or rescued themselves. One man was confirmed dead at the scene, while a woman later died in hospital. 

The deaths bring the toll to 10 people killed by avalanches in the province this season. 

Peter Marshall is an avalanche forecaster with the Canadian Avalanche Centre. He describes the conditions in the backcountry. 

"Right now, we've got a deeply buried, what we call persistent weakness in the snowpack. So, down a metre to a metre and a half, maybe two metres in some places, there's a weakness in the snowpack. And if you hit the sweet spot, you could trigger a very, very large and destructive avalanche. And your chances of surviving it could be very low."

Spring-like weather, with sunshine and slightly warmer temperatures, can also raise concerns going forward. It can stress the snowpack and cause a spike in avalanche activity. 

Marshall says that anyone opting to travel in the backcountry must be experienced, have avalanche training, and be making conservative decisions on where to go. 

You can check the Canadian Avalanche Centre's website for updates on the current avalanche risk across BC. 

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