A German heli-skier who died in Monday in an avalanche in British Columbia’s backcountry has been identified as the head of a major brewery in Munich.
Bavarian media said the 45-year-old victim was Jannik Inselkammer, an influential Munich businessman and head of the city’s oldest brewery, Augustiner-Bräu Wagner KG.
On its website, the brewery said it was mourning Mr. Inselkammer, “who died much too early and tragically.”
The fatal avalanche struck a group of skiers who were waiting to be picked up by a helicopter in the Selkirk Mountains, about 100 kilometres north of Revelstoke, B.C.
The group’s outfitter, Canadian Mountain Holidays, said they were staying at the firm’s Adamants Lodge, which caters to experienced skiers and snowboarders.
According to CMH, at about 11:30 a.m. four guests and a guide were near a valley bottom, at 1,400-metres in altitude, when a slide started at an elevation of approximately 2,550 metres.
Even though the helicopter pickup spot was sheltered by trees, the avalanche was so large that it destroyed the 250-metre-wide mature timber stand and fully buried one skier, CMH said.
After he was located through his avalanche beacon, it took about an hour to recover the victim, a CMH spokeswoman told the Revelstoke Times Review.
While the other members of the party suffered minor injuries, doctors were unable to resuscitate Mr. Inselkammer.
CMH said the avalanche was assessed to be of category 4 on a scale of 1 to 5.
The incident is being investigated by the RCMP and the B.C. Coroner’s Office.
“At this time, our deepest sympathies are with the family of the victim. The thousands of guests who ski with us each winter are like our family. It is impossible to put into words the sorrow that we feel,” CMH said.
The Süddeutsche Zeitung newspaper in Munich said Mr. Inselkammer was one of the city’s most influential entrepreneurs. His father was also in the brewing business.
With connections to beer crafted in a monastery in the 13th century, Augustiner is the most traditionally minded of Munich’s large breweries and still delivers its products in wooden barrels, according to Amsterdam-based beer historian Ron Pattinson.