An avalanche involving more than a dozen people hit near a British Columbia community, not far from where a snowmobiler died in another slide this weekend.

Pamela Gole with the BC Ambulance Service says 13 people were involved in an avalanche on Sunday on Esplanade Mountain, west of Golden, B.C.

RCMP say a 64-year-old man from Canmore was transported to Calgary by air ambulance in critical condition.

Meanwhile a 58-year-old woman from Calgary was transported by air ambulance to Kamloops with serious injuries which are not expected to be life threatening.

Those treated for minor injuries in Golden include:

  • A 34-year-old man from Golden.
  • A 53-year-old woman from Canmore.
  • A 62-year-old woman from Canmore.
  • A 59-year-old from West Vancouver [gender not specified by RCMP].

The avalanche, estimated to be between size two and three, prompted emergency responders to rush to the scene while Golden and District Search and Rescue flew into the area to help.

Everyone was located, Const. Spencer Lainchbury said, while the B.C. Ambulance Service said its crews have cleared the scene.

Initial reports from RCMP said the group was part of a guided ski tour. But on Monday the Backcountry Lodges of B.C. Association issued a statement saying the skiers were part of a larger self-guided group that was staying at the Sunrise Lodge.

2nd slide

On Saturday, a 30-year-old Calgary man was killed and a 40-year-old man from Winnipeg was taken to hospital when an avalanche struck four riders in the Quartz Creek area west of Golden.

Gole says she doesn't know whether those involved in Sunday's avalanche were snowmobilers or skiers.

Avalanche Canada issued a warning Friday as potentially deadly snow conditions develop on slopes across parts of eastern and southeastern British Columbia.

A spokesperson told CBC News on Sunday that a weak layer in the snowpack keeps getting buried making it hard to assess unstable areas and that accidents can happened even on guided tours with professionals.

More tragedy

"This weekend has brought more tragedy to our mountains because of avalanches. Our hearts break for the families of those who have lost loved ones to B.C.'s backcountry this season," said Naomi Yamamoto, B.C.'s minister for emergency preparedness in a statement on Sunday.

"I love the outdoors. It's what makes B.C. so remarkable. But it can be dangerous, even when you equip yourself with the proper training and tools for survival. The risk is real. Avalanche Canada's warning is still in effect," she said urging outdoor enthusiasts to take "great caution" when exploring the outdoors.

"This won't eliminate the risk, but it will increase the chances for returning home safely."

Almost a month ago, five snowmobilers were killed in an avalanche in B.C.

The five victims, all men from Alberta ranging in age from their early 40s to early 60s, died Jan. 29 near McBride.

with files from the Canadian Press