UPDATE: Avalanche experts will continue to assess conditions at SilverStar Mountain Resort following a slide that swept up a 42-year-old man in the Putnam Creek area of the mountain on Wednesday, according to staff.
“We do have experts in avalanches coming up here to assess Putnam Creek and assess the mountain further and that’s still under investigation at this time,” SilverStar spokesperson Chantelle Deacon said.
A specialist went in to the slide area with ski patrol members on Wednesday night and explosives were used to stabilize the slopes, according to search manager Trevor Honignan.
“They’re working all night and this morning to ensure those areas are secured from the public going into them,” Honignan said.
The Putnam Creek side of the ski hill will be closed until Sunday, according to Deacon.
Some areas on the face of SilverStar have been closed to activity as well, she said.
“We do have areas that are facing the sun in our Attridge area of the mountain that are closed down right now, but most of the frontside is still open,” Deacon said.
Avalanches have happened on SilverStar in the past, but not an isothermal avalanche like the one that swept up the skier on Wednesday, she said.
Two small avalanches occurred on Wednesday at SilverStar, the mountain resort confirmed on Thursday.
The first avalanche took place around noon on a double black-diamond run on the resort’s backside, also known as the Putnam Creek area. A 42-year-old man was airlifted to Kelowna General Hospital with unknown injuries.
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The second avalanche took place around 2 p.m., on a black-diamond run under a gondola along the ‘Face’ area of the resort. There were no reported injuries.
The resort said its frontside is open while the backside is closed, and will remain closed until further notice.
SilverStar said that it has also closed some south/southwest facing terrain east of the gondola, including the Alpine Meadows Chair.
SilverStar said the resort has “retained independent avalanche consultants to assist in the investigation of the isothermal avalanche that took place on a double black diamond run in Putnam Creek (also known as the Backside) on Wednesday afternoon.”
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SilverStar said the avalanche consultants, along with the resort’s patrol team, will be conducting a thorough investigation of Wednesday’s incident, as well as assessing resort-wide snow conditions.
“The re-opening of any terrain will be subject to the results of this investigation,” SilverStar said in an email. “As always, the safety of our guests and staff remains our highest concern.”