3 skiers injured after being swept 100 metres in Banff National Park avalanche

Three skiers were injured Monday after being swept down a mountainside in Banff National Park.

They used satellite device to send SOS signal to Parks Canada

Three skiers were injured in an avalanche in Banff National Park. (Mark Matulis/CBC)

Three skiers were injured after being swept down a mountainside in Banff National Park on Monday.

The skiers were on the southeast aspect of the east ridge of Mount Patterson, north of Bow Summit, in the Icefields Parkway on Monday morning when the avalanche hit.

It swept them 100 metres down a gully on the side of the mountain, said Parks Canada spokesperson Lesley Matheson.

They were carrying InReach satellite location devices, which sent out an SOS signal to notify Parks Canada of their situation.

A red line shows approximately how far the three skiers were swept in the avalanche on Mount Patterson on Monday. (Avalanche Canada)

None of the three were buried, but all three sustained various minor injuries. The worst was a minor head injury.

Matheson said the individual who sustained the head injury was not wearing a helmet while the other two were.

They were taken to hospital in Banff by ambulance.

Matheson said the three were carrying the correct gear for the situation: shovels, beacons and probes.

"Even though it's only October, the avalanche snowpack is deep and avalanche danger exists," said Matheson.

A bulletin on the Parks Canada website said there is an avalanche hazard in Banff, Yoho and Kootenay National Parks and that those heading into the backcountry should carry proper gear, avoid steep, sun-exposed slopes and travel as if December conditions were in effect.

Avalanche Canada said the avalanche appeared to be a loose, dry one that gained mass and concentrated in the steep gully where the skiers had been travelling.

The avalanche was a category two on the five-point avalanche classification scale, Matheson said. A category two is enough to "bury, injure or kill a person," according to Avalanche Canada's website.


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