February 12, 2018 6:46 pm
Updated: February 12, 2018 9:51 pm

Snowmobiler dies near Whistler after stopping on a pack of snow and falling over 200 feet

The Callaghan Valley in Whistler.

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A 52-year-old snowmobiler from Nanaimo died after he stopped on a cornice and fell 250 feet, the RCMP said in a Monday news release.

The snowmobiler was riding close to Callaghan Lake Provincial Park, a backcountry area in Whistler. He stopped his vehicle on a cornice in the area of Mt. Callaghan, police said.

A cornice is a pack of snow that hangs off of a ridge or some other mountainous formation.

The cornice subsequently collapsed, sending him falling and partially burying him.

Coverage of Whistler rescues on Globalnews.ca:

The RCMP was alerted to the incident on Saturday at around 3:15 p.m. Whistler Search and Rescue (SAR) attended the area with a doctor via helicopter.

Other snowmobilers tried to help the man by digging him out of the snow and giving him CPR, but he was pronounced dead at the scene.

The cause of death hasn’t been confirmed but it’s not considered suspicious. RCMP officers are investigating the death alongside the BC Coroners Service.

READ MORE: B.C. Family Day weekend traffic snarled by cold weather, high avalanche danger

The incident came in an area where the avalanche danger was rated as “moderate” over the weekend, but backcountry users are being warned to be extra careful with cornices.

Avalanche Canada has warned that cornices can break “surprisingly far back on to ridge tops.”

They recommend avoiding travelling on or near them, and to “limit time spent exposed to slopes below cornices, especially soon after wind events and during periods of warming temperatures.”

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