Avalanche kills backcountry skier in Glacier National Park
Jason Chad Westbury was 1 of 2 men killed in Kootenay region avalanches this weekend
A 38-year-old Revelstoke man was killed by an avalanche he triggered while backcountry skiing in Glacier National Park on Sunday, the B.C. Coroners Service has confirmed.
Jason Chad Westbury was with two other skiers in the saddle area, or col, at Mount Sifton at around 2:00 p.m. PT when he decided to test the conditions in the bowl on his own, say police.
As his two companions waited near the top of the ridge, the avalanche swept him away and buried him.
His companions found him and dug him out. While one stayed with him, performing CPR, the other skied out to Rogers Pass to get help from the Parks Canada station.
Park staff members and avalanche experts flew out by helicopter to the avalanche area, but Revelstoke RCMP Sgt. J.M. Olsen said Westbury couldn't be resuscitated, and died on the mountain.
Avalanche claimed snowmobiler near Kimberley
It was the second death in B.C's Kootenay region due to an avalanche over the weekend after a group of seven snowmobilers were caught in an avalanche in the Hellroaring Creek area west of Kimberley, on Saturday.
The man who died was buried in the slide, and due to the size of the slide and stability issues, crews could not reach his body until Sunday afternoon. His identity has not yet been released.
A snowmobiler died in an avalanche in the same general area in 2009, and a skier was badly injured in a Hellroaring Creek avalanche last year.
The Canadian Avalanche Centre had issued a special warning for northern and inland B.C. for the weekend, and said that even in inviting sunny weather, backcountry users should continue to be extra cautious.
Barb McLintock, spokeswoman with the BC Coroners Service says backcountry users can equip themselves to respond to avalanches, but should also consider altering or deferring their plans.
"We really want to encourage people who are going into the backcountry at this time of year to use extreme care," she said.
"One of the main things to do, before you even think about going: go to the Canadian Avalanche Centre's website."
RCMP in Revelstoke reported that the avalanche at Mount Sifton was rated as a size 2.5, and the hazard rating in the alpine was "considerable" at the time.