Red Deer man killed in Lake Louise avalanche

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A man who was among a group that was caught in an avalanche in a closed area of a ski resort in the Rocky Mountains has died.

RCMP Cpl. Troy Savinkoff says it appears three people were in an out-of-bounds area of the Lake Louise Ski Resort on Saturday afternoon when the avalanche occurred.

Savinkoff says a 21-year-old man from Red Deer, Alta., died and his body is now with the Office of the Chief Medical Examiner in Calgary.

Avalanche Canada says on its website that the skier-triggered, Size 3 avalanche was reported to be 200 metres wide and 550 metres long, with a crown depth of 40 to 50 centimetres.

It says two people were caught in the slide — one was partially buried and survived, while the other who didn’t survive was fully buried.

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The Lake Louise Ski Resort says in a statement that the avalanche occurred in a closed area of the resort called the West Bowl, and that none of the three people were wearing avalanche safety equipment.

Dan Markham with Lake Louise Ski Resort said three people ducked under a rope sectioning off the area in the West Bowl and traversed the ridge when an avalanche gave way overhead.

Ski patrol quickly responded to a 911 call and RCMP as well as Parks Canada rescue dogs also responded to the call.

“Our deepest condolences go out to the family and friends of the deceased,” the statement from the resort said.

“This is also a serious reminder of the dangers of entering closed terrain.”

Marham said the team at Lake Louise is highly skilled and trained to deal with these types of events, but such a tragedy hits everyone hard. Resources are being brought in to help staff.

The resort said both Parks Canada and EMS were contacted and an avalanche rescue team was dispatched to the location.

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Avalanche warnings issued in Banff, Yoho and Kootenay National Parks

According to Avalanche Canada, a Size 3 avalanche “could bury and destroy a car, damage a truck, destroy a small building, or break a few trees.”

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On Friday, Avalanche Canada tweeted a warning to not be fooled by warm temperatures at lower elevations, noting there are still winter avalanche problems in the alpine.


— With files from Jayme Doll and Meaghan Archer, Global News

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