Popular extreme snowmobiler dies in avalanche near Castlegar
A snowmobiler has died in an avalanche near Castlegar.
RCMP confirm the 45-year-old man died in the avalanche on Monday. They received a report at about 10 p.m. from a family member, saying the man was overdue from a day-long excursion near Castlegar. RCMP immediately activated local Search and Rescue.
Crews found the man on Tuesday and his next of kin has been notified. His snowmobile was found by another snowmobiler, partially buried in an avalanche.
The BC Coroners Service confirmed Wednesday that the victim was Daniel Davidoff, an experienced snowmobiler who made a living filming extreme videos under the title ‘Krazy Canadian.’
According to search and rescue he was riding alone Monday, in an area that he knew well.
The B.C. Snowmobiling Federation is urging riders to take safety seriously no matter what their skill level is.
Many people have posted online tributes to Davidoff, who is featured in a series of backcountry sledding videos called “Krazy Canadian Adventures.”
A description for one film posted on YouTube invites audiences to watch as the “Krazy crew heads out in search of new terrain, over-your-head powder, huge cliff drops and nearly impossible chutes that can only be climbed with huge horsepower turbo sleds and pure adrenaline.”
The creator of a B.C. snowmobiling page on Facebook, titled “Nobody sleds alone,” posted that Davidoff’s death should be a big wake-up call.
“No one should ride alone, regardless of skill or equipment. Dan was one of the best chute climbers around. Extremely knowledgeable in the backcountry and of snow conditions,” the post said.
“Yet this happened. No matter how good, how prepared you are Ma Nature takes no prisoners.”
Davidoff was featured in several extreme sport magazines, which tout him as the only two-time winner of the “Xtremey Award” for best performance in a snowmobile film.
A 2011 interview with Davidoff in Snowest magazine says his “ridiculous hillclimbs” and countless first ascents earned him a reputation as one of the top backcountry hillclimbers. It says he swore off alcohol and drugs in his youth, allowing him to “live on a natural high.”
Davidoff told the magazine he started riding about 40 years ago with his parents, who would pack him on their sled before he was two years old.
Asked whether he had advice for up-and-coming hillclimbers, Davidoff suggested people “ride smart” during dangerous avalanche days.
“You can always come back and slay the face another day,” he said. “But when the snow is safe and you feel it in your belly go for it. If you don’t feel it, trust your instincts.
“My worst failures always came when I had a bad feeling and didn’t listen to it.”
Two other snowmobilers were killed in an avalanche near Blue River on Monday.
In a separate incident, two other snowmobilers were found safe on Tuesday near Radium Hot Springs.
Columbia Valley Search and Rescue crews went into the backcountry Tuesday morning after the pair were reported as overdue.
Family members called 9-1-1 when the two people didn’t come home as planned on Monday.
The search began Monday night, but had to be called off when it got too dark.
With files from Tamsyn Burgmann, The Canadian Press
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