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British Columbia avalanche risk continues

Be vigilant of areas under risk
Be vigilant of areas under risk

Beverley Ann D'Cruz, staff writer

December 30, 2010 — One man was killed Tuesday after he was buried by an avalanche. And the risk continues to stay considerable on Thursday.

Avalanches can be triggered at any time
Avalanches can be triggered at any time

The Canadian Avalanche Centre is warning snowmobilers, skiers and snow boarders about a considerable avalanche risk in some parts of British Columbia and Alberta. And that means natural and human-triggered avalanches are possible.

On Tuesday, one Maple Ridge man was killed near Coquihalla Lake in the B.C. Interior. The victim was out with 11 others exploring a network of trails just 60 km north of Hope, B.C.

The 43-year-old man was the only person struck by the avalanche, which swept him off the trail and left him buried for 15 minutes. Although fellow snowmobilers located and dug him out, he could not be resuscitated.

Apart from checking the avalanche risk regularly, another way to stay safe is to remain within bounds. According to Graeme Parke, Ski Patrol Manager of Grouse Mountain people are often influenced by the media and like to challenge theselves by taking the unbeaten path. But a risky option, is not always the safest one.

“Going out of bounds - ducking a rope line - it puts you in extremely challenging terrain most of the time,” says Parke.“Terrain that's just a little more easy to hurt yourself, to get injured, or get distressed. You can be put in avalanche terrain, you could be put in terrain where you just can't get back to the controlled recreation area. That poses a risk too for the rescuers who have to come in and get you.”

On Wednesday two snowboarders were stranded for five hours after going out of bounds on a Vancouver-area mountain. The North Shore Search and Rescue Team retrieved the snowboarders via land, after an aerial rescue was abandoned.

And this is the kind of incident that can be avoided by obeying out of bound signs. Parke reminds visitors that the ski patrol is involved in avalanche control and assistance of guests within the controlled recreation area. This helps them promote a safe environment, where all levels of skiers are welcome. Reiterates Parke: “Stay in bounds. We have lots and lots and lots of great terrain.”

To stay up-to-date on the weather in your area, head to our Canadian Cities Index. You can also tune into The Weather Network on TV for details on the national forecast.

With files from CBC

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