Good luck and planning helped rescue skier from avalanche in White Pass, B.C.
A skier broke his leg and activated a beacon; luckily for him, a medical team was training nearby
A skier is safe in Whitehorse after being rescued in the mountainous White Pass region of British Columbia.
On Sunday, a man got caught in a small avalanche while downhill skiing. A wave of snow pushed him against a tree and he broke his leg.
The man was travelling in a group. The skiers managed to activate a SPOT locator beacon, which provided their exact coordinates to emergency services.
They were able to stay warm until rescuers arrived.
'Lucky' rescue training happening nearby
The RCMP detachment in Carcross coordinated the response with Yukon Search and Rescue as well as the Special Operations Medical Extrication Team (SOMET).
The SOMET happened to be training near the avalanche site at the time.
The group's presence near the site was good luck, though the locator was also essential to a quick rescue, said Mike Fancie with Yukon Search and Rescue.
"It could not have been much faster," he said.
"They were able to assess the situation, work with RCMP and send a team up the mountain to find out what happened."
The emergency happened in a mountainous area north of the Fraser, B.C., border station.
SOMET and Yukon Search and Rescue staff attended to the skiers.
Some rescuers tramped down a path using snowshoes to allow easier passage, and the injured man was carried to safety in a basket stretcher. He was loaded into an ambulance and brought to Whitehorse, which is about a two-hour drive away.
Avalanches 'more easily triggered' after recent snowfall
The skier's name has not been released.
He was transported to Whitehorse General Hospital and is now recovering.
Fancie says the snow conditions in the White Pass region have been especially dangerous of late.
"It's always changing, especially with the different temperature inversions that have been happening," he said.
"Right now there's all sorts of light snow shelves sitting on more established bits so avalanches are more easily triggered."
Search and rescue agencies across Canada recommend a list of 10 essentials people should carry, including an emergency beacon.
Fancie says the people skiing in White Pass Sunday were carrying some of those items, but not all.
Safety courses are also available in Yukon through the Red Cross and Yukon College.