Woman killed by cougar identified

The woman who was killed by a cougar in Banff National Park has been identified as 30-year old Frances Frost of Edmonton.

Park officials say the animal apparently crouched behind a tree, waited until Frost passed by and then jumped onto her back. She had been cross-country skiing near Lake Minnewanka, about 12 kilometres east of the townsite. The cougar was shot as it sat on top of her body.

Park officials are mystified as to why cougar attacked. Chief Park Warden, Ian Syme, says the animal's behaviour was "very unusual" and it may never know be known why it attacked Frost.

Syme believes the cougar was not the same one that attacked a dog and confronted a woman near an elk carcass earlier in the day. He says cougars may be living close to the town as they look for food, so he is advising people to exercise extreme caution.

Click here to listen to Ian Syme, Chief Park Warden with Banff National Park

Frost was born and raised in Edmonton and was well known in the local arts community. In the early 1990's she was a dancer with Edmonton's Ballet North Dance School & Performing Company.

"She was a lovely girl, a very talented person, she was one of those people who wasn't limited to one thing", says Paul Reich, a former dancer with Frost at Ballet North.

Last year, Frost was named Dancer-In-Residence at the Banff Centre. She was also a former interpreter and guide at Kananaskis provincial park.

Frost is from a prominent Edmonton family. She is the granddaughter of Ray Lemieux, an Edmonton scientist who won Canada's first Gold Medal for science and engineering.

Tom Spear reports for CBC Radio

Rick Donkers, Margo McDiarmid and Marni Kagan report for CBC Television