Avalanche Death in Alberta, Canada Over Weekend

SnowBrains | | AvalancheAvalanche
Kananaskis Country, Alberta, Canada.
Kananaskis Country, Alberta, Canada.

Five backcountry skiers touring near the Black Prince area – about 45 km south of Canmore in Peter Lougheed Provincial Park in Kananaskis Country – triggered and were caught in a size 2.5 avalanche on Saturday.  One of the skiers was killed by the avalanche.  The avalanche danger was rated as considerable at the time of the avalanche.  Considerable is the avalanche rating where the most people die.

This avalanche killed one of the skiers and injured the other 3.  The avalanche was 3-feet deep, 260-feet wide, and 2,000-feet long.

The avalanche took all 5 skiers down 2,000-vertical-feet and stopped with all 5 skiers on the surface.  The avalanche severely injured and killed a 34-year-old Canmore man due to being swept through trees.  He was pronounced dead on the scene by rescue workers.

“Three people had minor injuries, one person had a lower leg injury and one person had been raked through the trees so much that it ended up being a fatal injury.  They were all dragged through a series of smaller trees. As a result of that, there were associated injuries.” said Kananaskis Public Safety Specialist Mike Koppang

All 5 of the skiers had avalanche gear.  The avalanche was rated as size 2.5 and it occurred at 1pm on an east facing slope at 7,900-feet.  The group immediately administered first aid and CPR to the severely injured man, but were unable to save his life.

The skiers had lost most of their gear in the avalanche, including skis, so they ran to get help.  They were able to call for help two hours after the avalanche occurred.

“They had lost their skis, so they did have to run out through the snow. In the avalanche, a lot of their gear had come off,” Koppang said.

On Friday, a special avalanche warning had been issued for the mountain parks of Kananaskis County.  Officials have extended the warning through Tuesday.

The snowpack in the Canadian Rockies is complex right now with 2 to 3-feet of new snow on top of weak layers.

This avalanche death was the first in Western Canada this winter.

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