The deaths on Christmas Eve of two snowmobilers caught in an avalanche have prompted the Canadian Avalanche Centre in B.C. to warn anyone thinking of heading into the mountains this week of potentially dangerous conditions.
There’s a high avalanche risk in the Kootenay-boundary region, Whistler and Glacier National Park, Allan McMordie, a spokesman for the volunteer North Shore Search and Rescue team, said Wednesday.
It’s best to stay inside controlled areas on mountains, said McMordie.
“Anybody who’s foolish enough to do that [had] better let someone know what they’re doing, when they’re expected back, and they better have had training,” he said.
The Vancouver-area backcountry is not safe right now, and some recent snowfall on top of frozen snow is making the situation unstable, he said.
McMordie’s warning comes after two men in a group of four were caught in an avalanche while snowmobiling at Spanish Lake, near 108 Mile Ranch in B.C.’s Southern Interior, on Monday.
One man in his 20s was severely injured when rescuers arrived. He died shortly after.
The body of the second man was found Tuesday, buried under nearly two metres of snow.
The men had been digging themselves out from a minor avalanche when they were unexpectedly hit by a bigger, stronger one that buried the pair, officials said.
McMordie said avalanches aren’t the only elements of nature causing concern.
“Trees were coming down. I know up in the Cypress Bowl cross-country ski area, they had a number of trees come down across the trail,” he said.
Large clumps of snow falling from trees can be a hazard to people below too, he added.