The avalanche risk remains considerable for many areas of British Columbia and Alberta. That means people headed into the backcountry need to use caution when heading into avalanche territory.
A 28 year old backcountry skier was buried up to his armpits after being caught in an avalanche last weekend. That slide happened on Mount Sparrowhawk in Alberta. The man was able to keep a hold of his cell phone during the slide. He used it to call for help and was eventually airlifted by helicopter to safety.
While skiers are often caught in avalanches a new group of backcountry users is becoming more at risk for getting caught in a slide. Cam Campbell is with the Canadian Avalanche Centre (CAC).
“We've seen an increasing number of snowmobilers involved in avalanches in the past couple years while other groups have remained somewhat steady or actually declined in numbers,” explains Campbell.
The CAC now says that snowmobiling is the one backcountry activity that makes up most avalanche fatalities.Terry Poirier of Kelowna Yamaha says that snowmobilers don't always have to head for the biggest hills to enjoy the activity.
“You don't always have to go to big hills where there's an avalanche risk. In fact, that's only a very small part of snowmobiling in British Columbia. It's probably 30 or 40%. The other 70% is all nice trails, meadows, deep powder snow everywhere. It's a whole pile of fun,” says Poirier.
The University of Calgary has come up with new research that details who is most likely to get caught in slides. According to the report, physically fit, confident men between the ages of 20 and 25 have the greatest risk of ending up in a deadly avalanche.
With files from Andrea Stockton and Lisa Varano