Snowmobiler dies in avalanche south of Valemount, B.C.

A man is dead after getting buried by an avalanche while snowmobiling just south of Valemount, B.C., on Saturday.

Canadian Avalanche Centre said snowpack is unstable across much of B.C. this weekend

A map showing the location of an avalanche that killed a snowmobile rider in B.C. on Saturday. The accident happened just off Highway 5, south of Valemount, about five hours southwest of Edmonton.

A man is dead after getting buried by an avalanche while snowmobiling just south of Valemount, B.C. 

RCMP received several distress beacon calls around 12:30 p.m. PT on Saturday, pinpointing the location of a slide at Goat Ridge in the popular Clemina Creek snowmobiling area, about 30 kilometres south of Valemount off Highway 5. 

A snowmobile rider in photographed in the Clemina Creek area, south of Valemount, B.C. The area contains 17 kilometres of groomed snowmobile trails. (Tourism Valemount)

RCMP said several snowmobile riders were in the area at the time of the avalanche, and that one man was found dead. 

Search and Rescue teams from Valemount and McBride, about an hour north of Valemount, were dispatched to the scene. However, avalanche technicians determined that the area was too dangerous for emergency crews to enter. 

A statement from the RCMP issued Saturday night said that once conditions improve, the B.C. Coroners Service would enter to the area to recover the body.

On Sunday morning, search and rescue crews helped the B.C. Coroners Service reach the site of the avalanche and recover the victim's body, North District RCMP Const. Lesley Smith said.

Special avalanche warnings for B.C.

On Saturday, the RCMP issued a warning that no outdoor activity should take place in the Clemina Creek area due to the high risk of triggering another avalanche.

Earlier this week, the Canadian Avalanche Centre issued a series of special warnings for much of B.C. and for mountain parks in Alberta. Warm temperatures coupled with deep snowpacks are creating potentially dangerous situations in many backcountry areas.

Last week, an avalanche buried a section of Highway 16 near Valemount. No one was injured and the highway did reopen.

Valemount is about five hours west of Edmonton and 3½ hours northeast of Kamloops, B.C.

Map: Fatal avalanches in B.C., 2010-2014


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