British Columbia

Snowboarder, skier die in separate incidents after being found unresponsive in Kootenays

A snowboarder and a skier died on two separate mountains in the B.C. Kootenays after they were found unresponsive on Friday, according to RCMP.

Men in their 30s were each found on separate mountains Friday afternoon

A skier and a snowboarder have died after two separate incidents on mountains in the B.C. Kootenays. (Igor Link/Shutterstock)

A snowboarder and a skier died on two separate mountains in the B.C. Kootenays after they were found unresponsive on Friday, according to RCMP.

A statement from Mounties in Nelson, B.C., said the snowboarder was found unresponsive in a tree well at the Whitewater Ski Resort in the Selkirk Mountains just before 12:30 p.m. PT on Friday.

RCMP said a passerby found the man in an out-of-bounds area, phoned first responders and began CPR. Paramedics later pronounced the man dead.

The skier was found in the snow among the trees at the Fernie Alpine Resort, more than 300 kilometres away, just after 4:30 p.m. In a second statement, RCMP said the man had been separated from his skiing partner, who re-traced his run to find the man unresponsive.

A graphic showing a tree well surrounded by a snowpack. (Duk Han Lee/CBC)

The ski patrol arrived and took the man off the mountain. Paramedics transported him to hospital, where he was pronounced dead.

A statement from Mounties said the skiier was a Fernie man, originally from Quebec. The snowboarder was a Central Kootenay man. Both were in their 30s.

RCMP and the BC Coroners Service are investigating both deaths.

Whitewater Ski Resort, where the snowboarder was found, posted a bulletin about the dangers of tree wells less than a week before the man's death.

Tree wells are often hidden in areas with deep snow and trees. Lower branches on the trees keep snow away from the trunk, creating the well.

Skiers and snowboarders who fall into the wells can suffocate if help doesn't arrive quickly .

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