Body of Alberta man recovered in avalanche near Fernie, B.C.

The 36-year-old man died in an avalanche Monday investigators believe was triggered by a group of backcountry skiers.

Forecasters warn of high risk in B.C.'s southern backcountry

Fernie Search and Rescue technicians head out Tuesday to retrieve the body of a backcountry skiier from Calgary, Alberta, who died Monday in an avalanche in the East Kootenay's Lizard Mountain range. (Fernie Search and Rescue)

RCMP and rescuers have recovered the body of a 36-year-old Calgary, Alberta, man who died in an avalanche near Fernie, B.C., on Monday.

Elk Valley RCMP and Fernie Search and Rescue said in a release they were notified at about 6 p.m. Monday of a fatal avalanche in the Lizard Mountain range east of Fernie, likely triggered by a group of backcountry skiers.

The surviving members of the the group were taken to safety and the victim's body removed Tuesday via helicopter and long line.

The BC Corner Service and RCMP are continuing to investigate the incident.

Police said no further information is being released about the victim. 

Avalanche danger rating high

It comes as forecasters with Avalanche Canada warn recreational users of B.C.'s backcountry to use extra caution this week as the threat of avalanche increases with the warmer weather.

The avalanche danger rating is now considered high in the Columbia Mountains including Glacier National Park, the Kootenay Boundary region and in the Lizard Range, east of Cranbrook, B.C.

Avalanche Canada is urging anyone without high-level avalanche training to stay away from high-risk areas. (Avalanche Canada)

"It's quite a dangerous place to be right now and, unfortunately, it's also a place that people would get drawn to," said James Floyer, a forecaster with Avalanche Canada.

"During periods of high danger, we generally recommend that people without high-level avalanche training and a lot of backcountry experience, maybe consider staying away from avalanche terrain."

Floyer said warmer temperatures and recent heavy snowfall have combined to create perfect avalanche conditions.

Heavy snow is now sitting on top of a weak layer of snow, particularly in the tree line, he said.

"It's at the point where it's just right to be human-triggered," said Floyer.

Snow biker buried near Sparwood, B.C.

A snow biker from Alberta had a close call earlier this week when he and his bike were caught in a slide near Sparwood, B.C.

On Sunday night, he called to say he was separated from his friends and lost. Searchers using a helicopter and snowmobiles found him the next morning.

"We were lucky to spot him actually," said Simon Piney, Fernie Search and Rescue search manager.

"The team was investigating an avalanche slide ... and they suddenly realized, at the bottom of it, was the guy's bike, buried, with him under it."

Piney said the heat from the motor on the man's bike likely helped protect him in cold conditions. He was assessed and taken to hospital.

With files from CBC's Daybreak South.

About the Author

Jaimie Kehler

Jaimie Kehler is a web writer, producer and broadcaster based in Kelowna, B.C. She has also worked for CBC News in Toronto and Ottawa. To contact her with a story, email jaimie.kehler@cbc.ca.