January 14, 2019 4:10 am
Updated: January 14, 2019 9:33 pm

Calgary father, son dead after snowmobilers trigger avalanche near Invermere

WATCH: A devastating loss for a Calgary family as a snowmobiling adventure turned into tragedy. The lives of a father and son were taken following an avalanche near Invermere this week. Jill Croteau reports.


A Calgary man and his son were killed after they were caught in an avalanche while snowmobiling near Invermere in southeastern B.C. on the weekend.

Global News has confirmed 51-year-old Larry Burdiga and his son, 24-year-old Matt Burdiga, were part of a group of nine riders from Calgary snowmobiling on Mount Brewer in the Purcell Mountains.

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

The body of Larry Burdiga was found beneath two metres of snow with an activated airbag, according to Avalanche Canada. CPR was performed and the man was airlifted to the Invermere and District Hospital, where he was confirmed dead.

Early Monday morning, the search was still underway for Matt Burdiga, but RCMP confirmed late Monday afternoon that his body was recovered after the avalanche swept him into a lake near Mount Brewer.

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RCMP said the avalanche was reportedly triggered when one of the snowmobilers was high marking: a stunt in which a sledder tries to ride as far up a steep mountain slope as possible, then turn around and come back down the hill without getting stuck, rolling the snowmobile or losing power.

READ MORE: B.C. avalanches kill more snowmobilers from Edmonton region than anywhere else

The avalanche spilled down a slope and into a small lake. RCMP said they were notified shortly before 3 p.m. Saturday by the International Emergency Response Coordination Centre of an emergency beacon being activated.

Photo posted to the Columbia Valley RCMP website of a search and Rescue helicopter and truck near Invermere, B.C. on Saturday, Jan. 12, 2019.

Credit: Columbia Valley RCMP

The seven other snowmobilers were not injured.

READ MORE: Pemberton avalanche victim remembered as pioneering Squamish mountain biker

Avalanche Canada says the likelihood of triggering avalanches is increasing due to a substantial amount of warming in thin snowpack areas, where the likelihood of triggering deeper layers is the highest.

© 2019 Global News, a division of Corus Entertainment Inc.

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