Close Call for Splitboarder Fully Buried by Avalanche in Elk Valley, BC

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One person was fully buried in the slide. Credit: Avalanche Canada

Avalanche Canada reports that four backcountry splitboarders had a close call in the Elk Valley on Saturday after triggering a small avalanche that fully buried one of them, and caught another.

The group was able to self-rescue, using a transceiver and a probe to locate the buried skier, who was found caught around two trees 70-feet away from the impact. Her snowboard had come undone and her boot had been ripped off, neither of which were recovered.

As reported to Avalanche Canada staff: 4 splitboarders were riding on the ridge between Barnes and Elliot Lakes near Corbin. They experienced a whumph while skinning up the ridge and therefore chose a line down through tight trees due to concerns about triggering slabs in steep open areas. They had ridden down partway and loosely re-grouped when one of the members noticed they had remotely triggered an avalanche 200 feet above them and it was heading their way. That member yelled “avalanche!” to warn everyone. One member held tightly onto a tree above him and managed not to get swept away. Another was caught and carried a short distance but was uninjured and not buried. Another was carried away and missing. A transceiver search by remaining members quickly located a signal 70 feet away. The lowest reading during the pinpoint search was 70cm. The missing member was probed between two trees and upon rapid extrication (5min) was found to have been caught around them with her head downhill. Her snowboard and one boot had been completely ripped off and buried and could not be found. All members were able to self-extricate back to Corbin and there were no significant injuries.

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