A skier was airlifted to the hospital after she was buried by an avalanche on Mount Hector in Banff National Park, AB at 2 pm on Friday, but succumbed to her injuries the following day. The victim, identified as Laura Kosakoski, was a Canmore-based family physician.
The 32-year-old woman was backcountry skiing with two others when the party possibly remotely triggered an avalanche on the side of the mountain, according to a report on Avalanche Canada. The woman was fully buried under the snow for 45 minutes and her friends dug her out.
A party of three were skiing on a south-facing slope on Mt Hector in Banff National Park. A slab avalanche approximately 80 m wide was triggered. The crown tapered dramatically along the crest of the ridge from nearly 2 m in heavily wind-loaded drifts to as little as 40 cm. The avalanche ran for approximately 550 m and caught one person who was deeply buried by the debris. The victim was extricated by companion rescue and airlifted to hospital. She succumbed to her injuries and died the following day.
The avalanche ran on a weak layer of facets and depth hoar near the base of the snowpack. The avalanche caused most of the snow to be removed from along its path, exposing the ground and scrubby trees in many places.
Banff EMS responded and the woman was airlifted by Alpine Helicopter to the Banff warden’s office. The woman died the following day.
The Avalanche Canada report states that the avalanche is believed to have been a 2.5 on the size classification scale, meaning it’s between the size that could kill a person, or bury a car and destroy a small building.
The avalanche risk remains considerable for the area, according to Parks Canada.