Tragic news out of British Columbia, two individuals, a skier and a snowboarder, lost their lives in an avalanche that occurred yesterday in an area known as Terminator 2.5 outside of the Kicking Horse ski area boundary near Golden. The avalanche was triggered by a group of five snowboarders and one skier just above a cliff area, and four members of the group were involved. Three of the group members were buried by the avalanche, with one partially and two completely buried. Sadly, the two fully buried victims did not survive, while the partially buried victim sustained injuries.
1/3 We are deeply saddened to learn that two people were killed in an avalanche accident in the Purcells today. The snowpack in the interior is still incredibly complex and difficult to manage. Deep persistent slab problems may exhibit no signs of instability before a large… pic.twitter.com/wiN3zzyxBu
— Avalanche Canada (@avalancheca) February 17, 2023
A second group of snowboarders was also in the area when the avalanche was triggered. Although they were impacted by the slide, they were not buried and did not sustain injuries. Emergency services responded to the scene, with four ambulances from BC Emergency Health Services arriving just after noon. One patient was taken to the hospital in stable condition.
Avalanche experts have attributed the incident to a weak layer of facets near the base of the snowpack, which caused the very large avalanche to measure 400 feet wide by 3,100 feet long with a crown depth of 5 feet. The avalanche was classified as a size 3.5, deep, persistent slab avalanche with an east aspect and an elevation of 2,315 m / 7,595 feet. Six individuals were caught in the avalanche, with two fatalities.
Avalanche experts warn that the snowpack in B.C.’s Interior remains incredibly complex and difficult to manage, with deep, persistent slab problems that may exhibit no signs of instability before a large avalanche occurs. They caution that these types of avalanches are most likely to be triggered on steep and rocky slopes where the snow cover is thin or variable.
Our deepest condolences to the family and loved ones of the victims.