Avalanche victim identified as Alberta man in his 20s

Outdoor guides warn against high winds in the mountains Family Day weekend

Officials have identified the man who died in a snowmobile accident near Blue River Friday as an Alberta man in his 20s.

The BC Coroners Service said they were in the early stages of an investigation to “determine how, where, when and by what means he came to his death.”

The man was killed after an avalanche came down near Bone Creek in the Monashee Mountains north of Blue River.

“We do know he was with a group of people in an avalanche and according to the RCMP, the man was killed when a slide came down on a group of snowmobilers on a forest service road in the Blue River area, about 70 kilometres south of Valemount,” spokesperson Andy Watson said Thursday.

Cpl. Madonna Saunderson with the North District RCMP said the victim’s identity is still being confirmed and information is limited.

One snowmobiler has been killed in avalanche near Blue River

According to Bob Sayer, operations manager with Mike Wiegele Helicopter Skiing, who is familiar with the area where the incident took place, the victim was caught in a wind slab, which happens when the snow gets hard from the wind and turns into a thick hard slab that can create an especially large avalanche.

“They were in an area where there were wind slabs and they rode up into it and triggered an avalanche,” said Sayer.

“What I would say is snowmobilers should try to avoid all hard slab areas in the mountains during this condition.”

An Avalanche Canada special warning was recently posted cautioning backcountry recreation enthusiasts weak lower levels of snowpack had increased the chances for an avalanche along several eastern B.C. mountain ranges.

Statistics posted by Avalanche Canada show the death is the fourth this year in B.C.

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