Pemberton avalanche victim remembered as pioneering Squamish mountain biker

"Chris McCrum died doing what he loved, exploring the mountain," wrote the Squamish Off-Road Cycling Association. Squamish Off-Road Cycling Association/ Facebook

The victim of a fatal avalanche near Pemberton on Jan. 3 has been identified as a trailblazer in Squamish’s mountain bike community.

In a Facebook post, the Squamish Off-Road Cycling Association (SORCA) said Chris McCrum was the 42-year-old killed near Pebble Creek on Thursday.

WATCH: Avalanche claims the life of backcountry skier in B.C.

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Avalanche claims the life of backcountry skier in B.C.

The group calls McCrum’s death a “heartbreaking loss,” but says he “died doing what he loved, exploring the mountains.”

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READ MORE: Skier dies after being buried by avalanche near Pemberton

“Chris was a dedicated volunteer, a passionate past SORCA exec board member, an exceptional trail builder, an incredible athlete, and a friend to many of us,” said the post.

“His energy will be felt for years to come on many of the surrounding Squamish trails that he had a hand in building and maintaining.”

The group lauded McCrum for his work spearheading an initiative to have the region’s cycling trails recognized under the province’s trails management strategy, and for helping create a trail pass program to fund SORCA.

“We are eternally grateful to Chris for his dedication and time spent to making the Squamish trails the world class network that it is,” reads the post.

“So the next time your tire hits the dirt, or your shovel strikes the ground, tip your helmet in thanks to an incredible pioneer.”

READ MORE: Winter storm, avalanche warnings issued for Rockies

McCrum was with a group of skiers who were well-equipped for the backcountry when the avalanche happened, according to the RCMP.

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Whistler and Pemberton Search and Rescue were called out, but were unable to reach the site due to weather conditions and flying restrictions until Friday.

Police and the BC Coroners Service continue to investigate.

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