In-bounds avalanche claims life of 34-year-old man at Whistler

Click to play video: '34-year-old man dies after in-bound avalanche on Whistler mountain'
34-year-old man dies after in-bound avalanche on Whistler mountain
A warning about the threat of avalanches on the south coast after one skier was killed on a popular Whistler mountain. RCMP say they were called Thursday afternoon to the west bowl area Whistler Blackcomb where a 34-year-old man got swept up in an in-bound avalanche – Apr 8, 2022

An investigation is underway into a “Size 1” in-bounds avalanche that left a 34-year-old Whistler man dead at Whistler-Blackcomb on Tuesday.

In a statement, a spokesperson for Vail Resorts said ski patrol was called to a “ski incident” at the base of West Ridge, a black diamond run between Whistler Bowl and West Bowl and above an area of steep cliffs.

Whistler RCMP said it was called to the area just before 4 p.m., and that a search of the area located no other victims.

A section of the Whistler-Blackcomb trail map showing the location of West Ridge. Credit: Whistler-Blackcomb
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The victim was pronounced dead at the scene “after emergency care and evaluation,” the resort said.

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“Whistler Blackcomb, Whistler Ski Patrol and the entire Vail Resorts family extend our deepest sympathy and support to our guest’s family and friends,” Geoff Buchheister, Whistler Blackcomb COO said in the statement.

Click to play video: 'One dead and several injured in series of backcountry avalanches near Pemberton'
One dead and several injured in series of backcountry avalanches near Pemberton

According to Avalanche Canada, Size 1 is the lowest size rating for avalanches, and deemed “relatively harmless to people.”

As of Thursday, the avalanche danger rating for the Sea to Sky region is listed as “high,” with Avalanche Canada warning that warming periods coupled with spring sun are expected to create dangerous conditions.

Mounties said another Size 2 avalanche occurred in the West Col area off Blackcomb Mountain Wednesday that caught several skiers, but left no one injured.

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“The snowpack in and around Whistler is unstable at the moment due to the warming weather and snowfall this past week,” Whistler/Pemberton RCMP Staff Sgt. Sascha Banks said.

“We are recommending everyone to check your area prior touring in the backcountry or Whistler Blackcomb, know your skill level, trip plan, have the appropriate equipment, and have friends with you.”

Whistler RCMP, the BC Coroners Service and Whistler Blackcomb’s health and safety team are all investigating Tuesday’s fatality.

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