Alberta avalanche kills 2 brothers

Two brothers have died after an avalanche Saturday at a provincial park in southwestern Alberta.
Officials say conditions in the Kananaskis area have been dangerous for several days. ((Kananaskis RCMP))
Two brothers died after an avalanche at a provincial park in southwestern Alberta on Saturday.

Police say the avalanche occurred in the Burstall Pass area of Peter Lougheed Provincial Park, in Kananaskis Country, at about 3:45 p.m. MT.

Both men were swept away by the snow slide.

Rob Glaser was one of two brothers who died on Saturday. ((Courtesy of Glaser family))
One of the victims was found Saturday, but rescuers were unable to recover the body before nightfall. Emergency crews returned Sunday morning and were able to locate and recover the bodies of both victims. Police say the men were not wearing locator beacons.

Their names were withheld until police notified relatives, but later Sunday the family issued a statement identifying the two as Mark and Rob Glaser.

"Both were seasoned backcountry hikers and skiers who shared a deep passion for the outdoors," the family said in the release.

Mark Glaser, 54, lived in Calgary and worked in the oil and gas industry for more than 25 years. Rob Glaser, 53, lived in Bragg Creek and was a Calgary Fire Department captain, the family said.

"Both were loving husbands and fathers and will be greatly missed by their families and legions of friends."

Autopsies will take place Tuesday, the family said.

Local officials have been warning people since Tuesday to stay away from the area where the avalanche occurred.

"We wouldn't be recommending anybody head into alpine, or even treeline terrain, simply because the avalanche rating has been so high," said Duane Fizor, the information services co-ordinator for Kananaskis Country.

Mark Glaser also died in Sunday's avalanche. ((Courtesy of Glaser family))
Fizor said the area where the slide took place is popular with telemark and alpine touring skiers, as well as a few travellers on snowshoes.

According to the Alberta government's Saturday afternoon back country avalanche report for Kananaskis Country, rising temperatures combined with lots of snow and strong winds meant the risk for avalanche at treeline and above was high.

"Now is a good time to avoid exposure to avalanche terrain," the online report stated, noting that conditions were ideal for slab development, which leads to avalanches.

Ed Glaser, brother of Mark and Rob, told CBC News the two had locator beepers but left them in their vehicles because they planned to go in an area where the slopes were flat.

"They weren't going any place where there was any risk," he said.

With files from The Canadian Press