Rescue crews say it was ‘very lucky’ that nobody was killed in a size three avalanche triggered near Whistler, BC, on Saturday.
The avalanche occurred on Cowboy Ridge, just south of Whistler, just after 3 pm on Saturday. It is believed there were eleven backcountry skiers and riders in the area, several of which were caught and partially buried, requiring rescue. Nobody was seriously injured.
A size three avalanche could “bury a car, destroy a small building, or knock over a few trees.” Avalanche conditions in the Sea-to-Sky region were listed at “considerable” on Saturday.
“They’re very lucky. I mean, there were two different groups on the slope at the time the avalanche happened, and there were at least 11 people in the area at the time. It was a big event and they were very lucky to have survived it.”
– Wayne Flann, avalanche forecaster
Four of the people in the area were downslope from the slide, and three of them were partially buried, Flann added.
Whistler RCMP, BCAS, WFRS, WSAR, Patrol, Blackcomb Aviation, Whistler Heli-Ski, ACMG Guides, Whistler Health Care Services and some keen eyed members of the public and bystanders contributed to everyone getting home yesterday. Well integrated and coordinated multi agency response
— jœL ™ 🇨🇦 (@JoelSweet) January 10, 2021
16 search and rescue personnel responded to the area, where several avalanches have been reported in the last few days.
There have been four fatalities in the Sea-to-Sky in the last two weeks. Two snow bikers were killed in an avalanche in Pemberton on December 29. On New Year’s Eve, a skier died after falling into a tree well in the Whistler backcountry, and a snowboarder fell off a cliff at Whistler resort on Thursday 7th.