Backcountry skier injured in avalanche southeast of Sparwood
Sparwood Search and Rescue (SAR) was activated at 3:30 pm by the Elk Valley RCMP on Sunday, January 5 to rescue a backcountry skier who sustained minor injuries after being caught in an avalanche in the Corbin Road area approximately 25 km southeast of Sparwood.
“One skier of a party of five had been buried in the avalanche,” said Ed Ehrler, Sparwood SAR manager. “They quickly located the man and dug him out.” He was found alive but suffered a broken arm, bruises and was suffering from hypothermia.
They performed first aid and sent two skiers out for help.
After calling emergency services at the Coal Mountain Operations gatehouse, the skiers came across snowmobilers who were in the area. With their assistance they were able to bring the injured man out to a waiting ambulance while SAR was en route. B.C. Ambulance transported the Lethbridge man to the Elk Valley Hospital in Fernie where he was treated for his injuries and expected to make a full recovery.
The group had been skiing in and out of the tree line. Avalanche risk was forecasted as considerable in the alpine and moderate in the tree line. All of the five Alberta residents had Avalanche Skills Training 1 (AST 1) or higher and were carrying avalanche beacons, probes and shovels.
Sparwood SAR would like to remind anyone who is travelling in the backcountry during the winter to have avalanche safety training, carry avalanche safety equipment and check the conditions at www.avalanche.ca before heading out. Check the Lizard Range for the Fernie area and South Rockies for Sparwood and Elkford area at http://www.avalanche.ca/cac/bulletins/latest/south-rockies.
More backcountry safety information can be found at www.adventuresmart.ca.
To learn more about Search and Rescue in B.C., you can visit the website for the British Columbia Search and Rescue Association at www.bcsara.com.