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Avalanche claims two lives in B.C.

The avalanche overwhelmed two very experienced skiers
The avalanche overwhelmed two very experienced skiers

Alexandra Pope, staff writer

February 28, 2011 — Two skiers died after an avalanche raced down a mountain near Smithers, British Columbia Saturday.

Tuesday's avalanche risk
Tuesday's avalanche risk

On Monday, crews recovered the bodies of the pair, who were described as highly experienced backcountry skiers.

Conditions over the weekend were too unstable for rescuers to reach the site of the avalanche. Crews first detonated dynamite to stabilize the slopes of remote Tom George Mountain, then headed in on skis with search dogs.

RCMP are not releasing the names of the deceased, but said they are a 64-year-old man from Canmore, Alberta and a 52-year-old woman from Regina.

Cpl. Dan Moskaluk said the two were with a group who arrived at the Bernie Glacier Chalet by helicopter, then hiked up the mountain before their fatal run. Both were carrying avalanche safety gear.

The weather in British Columbia has been nothing short of wintery lately. Days of Arctic cold opened the door for heavy snow. Even Vancouver got hit with 7 cm over the weekend.

The recent precipitation has bumped up the avalanche risk throughout the Interior. Backcountry travel through the Kananaskis mountains, Banff and Yoho, the south Rockies and along the Kootenay Boundary is not recommended.

Just last weekend, three Alberta men died in a slide while snowmobiling west of Golden.

With files from the Canadian Press

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