Police are urging skiers and snowboarders venturing into the backcountry to be prepared and equipped for avalanches, which are likely to occur. (Jen Coulter photo)

Police are urging skiers and snowboarders venturing into the backcountry to be prepared and equipped for avalanches, which are likely to occur. (Jen Coulter photo)

Skier killed, others injured in ‘high-risk’ avalanches this week near Whistler

Police warn of increased avalanche risk this Family Day weekend

A skier died in an avalanche, one of three in Whistler backcountry that left several this week stranded and injured.

At around 3:20 p.m. on Friday Mounties confirmed skiers had been swept up by a snowslide in the Poop Chutes area near Blackcomb Glacier.

An extensive search effort involving police, avalanche technicians, and a team of dogs led to the recovery of four people.

“Two were located with injuries, one was uninjured, and unfortunately, one was pronounced deceased by a doctor in the area,” said Sgt. Sascha Banks with Squamish RCMP.

The avalanche was classified as Size 3, meaning it could “bury a car, destroy a small building, or break a few trees,” according to Avalanche Canada.

On Thursday, crews rescued three skiers trapped on the Super Couloir Area on Mamquam Mountain, near Garibaldi Provincial Park.

Both men were extracted via helicopter, one was injured.

READ MORE: B.C.’s busiest SAR team raises alarm after 2021 begins with fatality, multiple rescues

The rescues come amid increased avalanche risk for the area, something police are urging those venturing into the backcountry to take into serious consideration.

“The snowpack in the backcountry of the Sea to Sky is unstable and is subject to considerable and high avalanche risks,” Banks said in a Feb. 13 news release.

As such, skiers need to be equipped for Blackcomb Glacier, Garibaldi Provincial Park and Brandywine Bowl, she said.

“I cannot stress enough that you need appropriate avalanche equipment, train how to use it, recognize risk, and have up to date beacons/transceivers and know how to use them.”

Mounties confirmed Saturday afternoon rescue crews were responding to an avalanche near Brandywine Mountain.

“Please stay out of the area… and note the backcountry snowpack is unstable we can’t stress this enough,” Whistler RCMP warned in a Twitter post.



sarah.grochowski@bpdigital.ca

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