British Columbia

Lucky find: Long lost snowboard recovered in B.C.'s alpine 6 months after avalanche

Brian Goodwin was lucky to get out of the B.C. mountains alive after surviving an avalanche last January, but had to leave his snowboard behind. He figured it was gone, until he got an email this week.

'I gave up hope about 5 months ago,' says snowboarder

Louise Pick takes a spontaneous summer ride in the alpine above Cirque Lake east of Pemberton, B.C. (Dylann Coote)

Brian Goodwin thought he'd used up his luck for 2017 after surviving a large avalanche in January, even though he lost his brand new snowboard.

Goodwin was with a group of friends in the Stein Valley east of Pemberton, B.C., when someone in his group triggered an avalanche, burying the group's four snowboards and two snowmobiles.

The entire crew made it out unscathed but after hours of probing and digging, only Goodwin's board was left unaccounted for, until now.

"I gave up hope about five months ago," he said.

A mountain miracle

Next to the note Brian Goodwin left in a cabin near the site of the January avalanche, someone had scrawled "She's swimmin' now, bro!" Goodwin's snowbaord was found in an unnamed lake, 1,900 metres above sea level six months after it was lost in an avalanche. (Louise Pick)

At the tail end of the B.C. Day long weekend, Goodwin was working at his bartender job in Whistler when he got an email from Louise Pick.

Pick, who moved from Toronto to Vancouver just over a year ago, found the snowboard during a high alpine hike over the long weekend with her boyfriend.

On the way in, they noticed a handwritten note pinned to the wall of a nearby backcountry cabin. Goodwin had left his contact information behind in case someone happened upon the snowboard. 

Scrawled next to Goodwin's note was a slightly snarky reply: "She's swimmin' now, bro!" which turned out to be true.

Pick said she wasn't really looking for a snowboard, though the note was in the back of her mind when she spotted it submerged near the edge of an unnamed lake about 1,900 metres above sea level.

"I was like 'Oh my god, it's the snowboard!' I just saw it in the water. We were so stoked on it, you know. Anytime you can help people out it's awesome," said Pick.

The board was underwater near the edge of the lake. With a little manoeuvring Pick was able to grab it from the shore. 

'We gotta take this thing for a ride'

Brian Goodwin's board, as spotted from the trail by Louise Pick, who wasted no time strapping her hiking boots in for a free ride. (Louise Pick)

Despite having switched to skiing eight years ago, nevermind that the board was about two sizes too big for her, Pick strapped her hiking boots into the bindings and went for a ride.

"There's tons of patches of snow up in the alpine now so we just hiked it up this hill and took it for a couple runs," she said.

With about five hours left in the hike out, the couple debated whether they'd haul the board out with them, but decided to stash it somewhere in the wilderness instead.

"I don't want to say where it is but we told [Goodwin] where it is," she said.

"And I told him 'It's a beautiful place to hike in the summer so I bet you could just hike in there yourself and go get it.'"

Goodwin said he was happy to get it back but suspects the board may be rusted and water logged beyond repair.

"It's just a snowboard but it was a cool move on her part to hit me up," he said. "She's rad; I want to have beer with her one day, maybe."