One person is dead and two have been taken to hospital with serious injuries following a series of avalanches in the Pemberton area on Saturday (Feb. 5).
Pemberton RCMP said that they received a series of calls and messages for rescue in a 10-minute time period at around 1:20 p.m Saturday.
Witnesses told police that there were three separate avalanches in the area that had buried multiple skiers and snowmobilers.
RMCP, Pemberton Search and Rescue, Whistler Search and rescue, Blackcomb Helicopters and B.C. Emergency Health Services responded to the avalanches in the Cassiope Peak and Mount Cayley areas.
In the Cassiope Peak areas – located northeast of Pemberton – search and rescue crews found that a large avalanche on the north face caught four skiers, killing one and leaving two others with serious injuries.
The second Cassiope Peak avalanche was at the trail head and caught two people, although none were seriously injured.
The third avalanche happened west of Whistler at Mount Cayley and left a snowmobiler with serious injuries.
“There is no doubt that the snowpack remains unstable and information from Avalanche Canada and in consultation with Avalanche experts in our area shows there is an immense risk in the Sea to Sky backcountry at this stage” said
Staff Sgt. Sascha Banks. “We are concerned for additional large avalanches in the coming weeks with the increase in temperatures and sunny conditions. Pemberton RCMP and Pemberton SAR are asking you to check avalanche ratings and plan your trips prior to heading out in our backcountry.”
Avalanche Canada is asking people to “avoid avalanche terrain at treeline where triggering a persistent slab avalanche is most likely.
“High freezing levels and solar radiation could increase the likelihood of triggering this layer.”
Pemberton RCMP and the BC Coroners Service are investigating and asking anyone with information to call 604-894-6634.