RCMP and Whistler Blackcomb confirm a man died earlier this week when he was caught in an avalanche inside the boundaries of the ski resort about 120 kilometres north of Vancouver.
Whistler RCMP say other skiers called for help just before 4 p.m. Tuesday after finding the unresponsive skier in the resort’s West Bowl area, renowned for its extremely steep, cliff-studded runs.
Police said the 34-year-old Whistler man was pronounced dead at the scene and an investigation involving Whistler Blackcomb, the RCMP and the B.C. Coroners Service is under way.
Whistler Blackcomb chief operating officer Geoff Buchheister has also confirmed the investigation and extended deepest sympathy and support for the skier’s family and friends.
RCMP reported another inbounds avalanche occurred in the West Col area of Blackcomb mountain Wednesday, one day after the fatal slide, and several skiers were caught but no one was hurt.
Avalanche Canada rates the risk of slides on mountains in the Sea-to-Sky region as considerable at alpine and treeline levels, noting several that were large enough to bury a person happened Tuesday and Wednesday as high freezing levels and a mix of rain and snow created a natural avalanche cycle.
RCMP Staff Sergeant Sacha Banks warned the snowpack in and around Whistler remains unstable because of recent heavy snow followed by warming temperatures.
“We are recommending everyone to check your area prior touring in the backcountry or Whistler Blackcomb, know your skill level, trip plan, have the appropriate equipment, and have friends with you,” Staff Sgt. Banks says in the statement.
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