Unrelated photo showing a size 4 avalanche, the same magnitued of slide that occured in the Selkiks. source: Canadian Avalanche Center
One Killed in Selkirk Area Avalanche
A 45 year old German man visiting the region to ski has been killed in an avalanche on March 24th. The avalanche occurred around 11:30 am. The skier was in a party of five heli-skiing with Canadian Mountain Holidays (CMH). The incident occurred while the four guests and guide were waiting for heli pickup on the valley floor.
The slide was triggered near 2,550 meters and cut a path 250 meters wide, leveling mature timber as it plowed to the safe pickup spot at 1,400 meters. The man was buried under approximately three meters of snow and was recovered ‘many minutes later,’ however he was unresponsive to medical resuscitation. CMH has posted a statement on their site with details of the nature of the slide.
The Canadian Avalanche Center’s forecast for the Selkirks on the 24th was considerable in the alpine and above treeline and moderate below. The slide released on a Western facing slope and was rated as a size 4 avalanche on the Canadian avalanche size scale.
The fact that this avalanche took out mature forest and reached skiers while they awaited heli pickup highlights the instabilities present in the snowpack this year. The location the clients and guide were standing in was considered a safe zone, a place CMH expert guides had decided minimized exposure to avalanche danger.