CALGARY- Parks Canada said crews responded to an avalanche involving a group of 11 backcountry skiers on their way to Bow Hut in Banff National Park at around 4:30 p.m. Friday.
Parks officials say four of the skiers were ahead and the remaining seven triggered a size 2 avalanche less than a kilometre away from the hut.
Visitor safety specialists said one of the skiers was fully buried, a second was partially buried and suffered a broken leg, while a third skier was partially buried and injured their knee.
Luckily, the group was equipped with avalanche rescue equipment and was prepared with rescue training that helped them locate and dig up their buried friends. they phoned Parks Canada dispatch for help at about 6 p.m.
Due to the serious avalanche conditions, Parks Canada said its crews did not undertake a ground based rescue in the dark that night and instead, advised the group to move to a safe area to spend the night.
Around 9 a.m. on Saturday, Parks Canada used a helicopter to airlift one of the injured skiers to Banff EMS paramedics waiting at Bow Lake. The entire group was then removed from the area and taken to their vehicles.
Bow Hut is located on the Wapta Icefield north of Lake Louise.