British Columbia

Whistler Search and Rescue mourns death of volunteer Toby Salin, 51

Experienced backcountry rescuer's body was found Saturday after days of searching remote forest service roads southeast of Pemberton, B.C.

Experienced backcountry rescuer's body was found Saturday on a remote road southeast of Pemberton, B.C.

Toby Salin in an undated photograph. He is a member of Whistler Search and Rescue. (Brad Sills/Whistler SAR)

An experienced member of Whistler's volunteer search and rescue team was found dead in a remote area southeast of Pemberton on Saturday.

Toby Salin, an eight-year veteran of Whistler Search and Rescue, was last seen Thursday. The group's president confirmed Salin's death to CBC News.

"Toby was a beloved member of Whistler Search and Rescue family," Brad Sills said in an interview Sunday. "His specialities were in skiing and snowmobiling.

"Just a great guy, a real hard worker — wouldn't give up, even when the weather was really bad."

Sills said Salin joined the volunteer organization eight years ago, and loved backcountry skiing.

"He worked diligently on almost the tasks we've had since that time," Sills said. "It's just really sad and we're just going to miss him a lot."

Salin had been missing for three days, prompting a wide-ranging effort to find him in the backcountry around Pemberton, according to police.

Pemberton RCMP put out a missing persons bulletin Friday morning saying that the 51-year-old had not been seen or heard from since Thursday. The force could not be reached for comment Sunday on a suspected cause of death.

Salin's truck was found in a remote area near West Lillooet Lake Road, around the In-SHUCK-ch Forest Service Road, southeast of Pemberton, according to police.

The B.C. Search and Rescue Association said Salin will be missed by many in the volunteer-driven wilderness rescue community.

"It is with a very heavy heart that we confirm the passing of Whistler SAR member, Toby Salin," the association tweeted on Sunday. "Toby will be remembered for his strong commitment to [search and rescue], his incredible work ethic and dry sense of humour. He will be missed by many."

Backcountry group BC Adventure Smart offered its condolences on Twitter.

"We're so sorry to hear about the passing of Whistler SAR volunteer Toby Salin," the organization said. "We send our deepest condolences."


David P. Ball


David P. Ball is a multimedia journalist with CBC News in Vancouver. He has previously reported for the Toronto Star, Agence France-Presse, The Globe & Mail, and The Tyee, and has won awards from the Canadian Association of Journalists and Jack Webster Foundation. Send story tips or ideas to, or contact him via social media (@davidpball).