VANCOUVER – Seven people were rescued from an avalanche at Fernie Alpine Resort Saturday afternoon, on the same day that avalanche awareness sessions were launched on the mountain and across B.C.
Fernie general manager Andy Cohen said seven people were skiing in an area known as the Currie Bowl, which is rated as expert terrain, when they triggered the avalanche just before 1 p.m. The slide, reported to be about 30 metres wide and one metre deep, swept about 300 metres down the slope, but didn’t buy any of the skiers, Cohen said.
One member of the group was taken to hospital with a leg injury. The others suffered “bumps and bruising and were shaken from their experience” but were otherwise okay, RCMP Cpl. Dan Moskaluk said.
Search and rescue officials, aided by the RCMP and police dog service, scoured the mountain but found no one else in the area.
The avalanche danger in that area had been rated high by the Canadian Avalanche Centre Saturday. The resort had also warned on its website that “due to heavy snowfall, significant avalanche control work is in progress, and temporary closures may be in effect.”
The slide hit just hours after Avalanche Awareness Days – an event in which the Fernie Pro Patrol aimed to educate the public about everything from using a transceiver to finding buried beacons in the snow – kicked off on the mountain.
It also came as most areas of B.C., except for the North Shore and Vancouver Island, were deemed to be at high risk of a slide. The Sea to Sky area was classified as high in both the alpine areas and at treeline.