With no shortage of fresh snow on the North Shore slopes, rescue crews are reminding the public to stay in bounds and be cognizant of avalanche danger.
North Shore Rescue team leader Mike Danks says 2015 has been their busiest year in the 50 years of service, with 136 calls fielded so far.
“It would be fantastic if there were no more calls till the end of the year,” says Danks.
But as people flock to the North Shore mountains to enjoy fresh powder after an abysmal winter last year, rescue crews are reiterating their safety message.
Danks says if you are skiing on local mountains, make sure to stay in bounds.
“Within those boundaries, whatever mountain you are going to, they will have avalanche control technicians who will control those areas, so you are not going to be at risk of an avalanche,” he says. “But once you go outside the boundaries, that’s when you get into uncontrolled terrain and can get into trouble very quickly.”
Just a couple of days ago, a skier was rescued after going out of bounds on Cypress Mountain. Danks says the man was very lucky to escape with his life because he ended up in a gully, which can be prone to avalanches.
“It just takes one time, one mistake and it could be fatal,” he says.
And if you are skiing in the backcountry, Danks says have appropriate equipment with you, be aware of the avalanche danger and don’t go alone.
“There is no one to save you if you go by yourself,” he says.
He also recommends backcountry skiers go through avalanche safety training for tips on how to travel through challenging terrain and avoid any features that can trigger an avalanche.