A snowmobiler was killed on Saturday after getting caught in an avalanche in the Thunderwater Lake area north of Panorama, BC.
Avalanche Canada says a group of three was snowmobiling above Whirlpool Lake when two riders were caught in an avalanche reportedly triggered near a rocky feature on a slope.
“A party of 3 was snowmobiling in the Thunderwater Lake riding area on a slope above Whirlpool Lake. Two riders were involved in the avalanche that was reportedly triggered near a rocky feature on the slope. One rider managed to ride off to the side, the other was caught and buried approximately 2 meters deep on a bench feature mid-path. The subject was located and extricated by their party and CPR initiated. Search and Rescue responded and evacuated the subject via helicopter to BC Ambulance Service in Invermere, but the victim did not survive.
The avalanche was reported to be a storm slab over a crust. It occurred on an alpine feature above a lake and was 40-100 cm deep, 100 meters wide, and 300 m long.”
One rider managed to ride out of the avalanche, but the other was carried and buried in roughly seven feet of snow. The other party members located and pulled the person out of the snow before performing CPR. Columbia Valley Search and Rescue evacuated the rider via helicopter to BC Ambulance Service in Invermere, BC, but the person did not survive.
“Columbia Valley Search and Rescue responded to a recreation snowmobile avalanche accident today in the Thunderwater Lake area of Forrester creek. The new storm snow is very reactive on the buried suncrust. Wide propagation has been observed, and there is potential to run full path.
Please be careful with the current avalanche conditions. These avalanches can be surprisingly large and could be triggered by warmth, cornices, or riders and skiers.
Read the Avalanche Canada bulletin daily at www.avalanche.ca and get the training to stay safe in the backcountry this spring.
Play safe out there.”
Avalanche Canada warned several serious avalanche accidents have been reported over the last few days as dangerous conditions persist across western Canada.
The death adds to the thirteen already seen in Canada this season and 22 in the US. Two guests on a guided heli-ski trip with Canadian Mountain Holidays (CMH) Heli Skiing were killed in an avalanche near Revelstoke, BC, on January 23rd. On Saturday, January 21st, a snowmobiler died after being caught in an avalanche near Valemont, BC. On January 9th, two off-duty officers from the Nelson Police Department were caught in a slide near Kaslo, BC. One died at the scene, and another two weeks later. On Saturday, February 11th, 2023, two backcountry skiers were caught and killed in an avalanche on Potato Peak near Tatla Lake, British Columbia. On February 16th, an avalanche outside Kicking Horse Mountain Resort, BC, killed a skier and snowboarder. On Wednesday, March 1st, three people died, and four were injured in an avalanche involving nine heli-ski guests near Panorama Mountain Resort, BC. On Wednesday, April 12th, a heliskier was killed in northwestern BC>
Experts say the snowpack only gets this weak every 10 to 20 years, and this year is similar to 2003, one of the deadliest avalanche seasons on record, which saw 25 fatalities in Canada.