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Friends of snowboarder who died at Big White raising funds for search and rescue team

Ryan Fletcher, 42, has been identified as the man who died Dec. 26 after heading out on one last run at the mountain he’d been going to for most of his life.
Ryan Fletcher, 42, has been identified as the man who died Dec. 26 after heading out on one last run at the mountain he’d been going to for most of his life. Courtesy: GoFundMe

Friends and family of a Kelowna, B.C., man who died last month while skiing out of bounds at Big White are banding together to raise funds for the team that worked to rescue him.

Ryan Fletcher, 42, has been identified as the man who died Dec. 26 after heading out on one last run at the mountain he’d been going to for most of his life.

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“Ryan took one last run on Biggie and our world became a darker place,” reads a crowdfunding campaign created by Katy Drago and Sonya Barker in Fletcher’s name.

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“Ryan was an avid snowboarder his entire life, he has had a season’s pass at Big White since 1980-something. He wasn’t afraid to face the wild and enjoyed many heli-skiing and cat skiing trips with friends over the years.”

Fletcher, they said, leaves behind his partner, his mother, his sister, niece, and many friends.

Read more: Body of missing Kelowna snowboarder found at Big White Ski Resort

“Money raised will be donated to the Central Okanagan Search and Rescue (COSAR) for all the amazing work they do keeping our communities safe and stepping in when the worst-case scenarios occur,” reads the campaign page.

“Thank you to the men and women who volunteer so many hours to support this organization, we appreciate you.”

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Fletcher was last seen at the Gem Lake chair lift as he prepared to do his last run of the day on Dec. 26.

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“A search was conducted (Sunday) evening but was called off at 12:45 a.m. due to inclement weather and poor visibility,” said Cpl. Tammy Lobb in a news release.

The search was conducted in the backcountry of Big White where the snowpack was unstable and was subject to considerable and high avalanche risks. Search and Rescuers along with Big White Ski Patrol later located and recovered Fletcher’s body on Dec. 27.

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