According to a RCMP Press Release, a snowmobiler was killed after an avalanche swept through a popular recreation area near Valemount, B.C. on Friday, December 30th, 2016. Royal Canadian Mounted Police were called to a forest service road in the Clemina Creek area Friday afternoon. On Saturday, RCMP were able to recover the snowmobiler’s body after unstable snow conditions delayed their search until Saturday morning.
This marks the second avalanche death in Canada this season (skier Trevor Sexsmith in Banff in November).
When the avalanche occurred on Friday, the avalanche danger in that area was “considerable” according to Avalanche Canada. Initially, there were reports indicating that there were 3 people involved in this avalanche, one person’s snowmobile got stuck on a snow-covered slope and the other two attempted to free it on their own snowmobiles. It is suspected that their combined weight could’ve caused the avalanche.
“This is consistent with a pattern we see which is multiple people on a slope at one time when the avalanche is triggered,” stated Ilya Storm, a forecaster with Avalanche Canada.
It is often suggested to let a stuck snowmobiler free themselves instead of bringing more sleds on a slope to get them unstuck. Adding extra weight increases the chances of an avalanche being triggered. Clemina Creek is about 30 kilometers south of Valemount and it was closed to the public Saturday after this tragic incident.