A man is dead and one woman is seriously injured after being caught in an avalanche near Kootenay Pass in the Selkirk Mountains on Sunday.
The man and woman, both 27 from the Nelson area, were caught in the avalanche while skiing with two others in the Lightening Strike Ski area.
The other two people were able to locate the pair who were hit, but according to Salmo RCMP, the male died at the scene. The woman was removed and taken to hospital with serious injuries.
The BC Coroners Service has identified the man who died as Cale Jack.
The avalanche came down near Highway 3 between Salmo and Creston, B.C. Crews responded to the scene at around 1 p.m.
Nelson Search and Rescue manager Murray Springman said crews located the man and woman, both had serious injuries.
Salmo RCMP said a rescue operation was done with the use of a helicopter and several Search and Rescue personnel.
Springman said there is a high avalanche warning for the area and police are advising people to stay out of the backcountry.
The Canadian Avalanche Centre issued a special warning for most of B.C.’s mountainous regions, except the North Shore Mountains, on Thursday.
Karl Klassen, CAC manager, said the problem is a result of the extended dry period during the last couple months.
“That long drought left the surface of the snowpack in very bad shape,” said Klassen. “Now the new snow is sitting on one of the worst weak layers we’ve seen in a few years. That weakness is currently anywhere between one and two metres deep so when it’s triggered, the resulting avalanches are very large.”
All backcountry skiers, snowboarders and snowmobilers are urged to be very conservative when choosing terrain.
“Staying safe will require patience and discipline as long as this layer is in play. The weak layer will likely persist after this warning expires and recreationists are urged to stay cautious in avalanche terrain,” Klassen said.