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B.C. avalanche risk lowered


Click on the photo to watch videos about avalanches and how to prepare for the threat
Click on the photo to watch videos about avalanches and how to prepare for the threat

Alexandra Pope, staff writer

January 19, 2011 — The Trans-Canada Highway was reopened at Golden Wednesday as the avalanche risk decreased in the B.C. interior.

The avalanche risk has decreased in the B.C. interior
The avalanche risk has decreased in the B.C. interior

The Trans-Canada Highway between Golden, British Columbia and Lake Louise, Alberta reopened Wednesday after being closed since January 14 due to an extremely high avalanche risk.

Crews triggered slides to lessen the danger to motorists before reopening the route.

This past weekend saw as many as 35 slides in the Kicking Horse Canyon after days of heavy snowfall.

The high avalanche danger hampered efforts to rescue 14 skiers stranded by a slide in Kokanee Glacier Provincial Park on Sunday.

The body of an Alberta man was recovered Monday, but seven searchers were stranded while trying to rescue the man's companions.

Two other Alberta men died in a slide in Peter Lougheed Provincial Park near the B.C. border on Saturday, while another man was injured when an avalanche raced down an expert ski run at Fernie Alpine Resort.

The snowpack may still be vulnerable in some places
The snowpack may still be vulnerable in some places

The avalanche risk has since decreased throughout the southeastern part of the province.

On Wednesday the avalanche danger in the Kootenay Boundary and the South Rockies was listed as 'considerable' by the Canadian Avalanche Centre, although it remained high in the North Columbias and Alberta's mountain parks.

John Kelly with the CAC attributed the improvement to colder temperatures.

“Cold weather usually produces a short-term improving of the snow pack,” he explained.

“The snow tightens up.”

However, people heading out on back-country adventures should still take precautions.

“High avalanche danger ... happens from time to time,” he said.

“It's part of the ups and downs of winter.”

To survive avalanche season, anyone who ventures into remote areas should know how to recognize dangerous terrain, the avalanche centre advises.

With files from The Canadian Press

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