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2 dead in avalanche near Golden, B.C.

2 dead in avalanche near golden b c

Two people have died in an avalanche outside of a ski area boundary near Golden, B.C., Avalanche Canada said Thursday. 

A group consisting of five snowboarders and one skier were in an area of southeastern B.C.’s Purcell Mountains known as Terminator 2.5 when an avalanche was triggered. Four members of the group were involved, Avalanche Canada said.

The avalanche buried three members of the group. One was partially buried and extracted. Two were fully buried and did not survive.

B.C. Emergency Health Services said it received a call just before noon Thursday about an avalanche southwest of the Kicking Horse Ski Hill. Four ambulances responded and paramedics took one patient to hospital in stable condition.

A second group of snowboarders who were lower in the track when the avalanche was triggered were impacted by the slide but not injured.

The Size 3.5 avalanche measured 115 metres wide and 950 metres long with a crown depth of 1.5 metres, Avalanche Canada said, and “ran on a weak layer of facets near the base of the snowpack.”

“The snowpack in [B.C.’s] Interior is still incredibly complex and difficult to manage,” Avalanche Canada said on social media Thursday. 

“Deep, persistent slab problems may exhibit no signs of instability before a large avalanche occurs. They’re most likely to be triggered on steep and rocky slopes where the snow cover is thin or variable.”

The latest fatalities bring the total number of avalanche deaths in B.C. in 2023 to nine, including two backcountry skiers who died Saturday in an avalanche approximately 40 kilometres south of Tatla Lake, B.C., two off-duty officers with the Nelson Police Department who were on a ski trip near Kaslo, an Alberta man who was snowmobiling south of Valemount, B.C., and two brothers from Pennsylvania who were on a guided heli-skiing trip in B.C.’s Interior.

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