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‘Very fortunate everyone survived’: Fernie SAR responds to three skiers involved in avalanche

Fernie Search and Rescue attened the avalance in Orca Bowl on Dec. 11
A screenshot of video footage taken during an operation from Fernie Search and Rescue, who were tasked to respond after an avalanche in Orca Bowl on Dec. 11, 2022, that involved three skiers. All skiers survived. (From Fernie Search and Rescue)

Fernie Search and Rescue (FSAR) responded to an avalanche in Orca Bowl on Sunday (Dec. 11) in which all involved skiers survived.

According to Sunday Facebook post from FSAR, they were tasked to respond after three skiers were involved in a Size 3 skier-triggered avalanche.

“One skier was fully buried and dug out by his ski companions,” the post reads.

FSAR avalanche technicians responded along with Ascent Helicopters to extricate the injured skier.

“A combination of good luck and rapid response by his companions meant that this event did not have a much worse outcome.”

Simon Piney, head of FSAR, sent a comment to The Free Press on the incident.

“The Ski Patrol has done some excellent (Instagram) posts on the current snowpack, highlighting the low probability high consequence persistent weak layer in our area,” he wrote.

“That is what this group triggered, and they were very fortunate everyone survived.”

“In terms of advice, read the bulletins, ski conservative, know how to companion rescue.”

The Facebook post thanked the various members of the public and Island Lake Lodge guides “for being so quick to report the slide despite it being outside of their property.”

READ MORE: Lessons to be learned from early-winter Kimberley SAR rescue

READ MORE: ‘It’s a miracle there were no fatalities’ in Tour Divide race: Fernie SAR head


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