Rescue attempt hailed as heroic despite deaths

An avalanche killed two Calgary men near Canmore Saturday afternoon, despite the rescue effort of nearby skiers.


Public safety specialists are heralding three people as heroes as they tried desperately to dig out the two men buried in the avalanche.


A size 3 avalanche rumbled through the backcountry of Tent Ridge in Spray Lake on Saturday around 2:30 p.m., burying the two skiers.


According to Kananaskis public safety specialist George Field, the three people were sitting down for lunch nearby when the avalanche occurred.


“When the avalanche happened this other group ran down to try and find the people caught in the avalanche and it only took them 15 or 20 minutes to dig them out,” Field told Metro.

“Unfortunately, there were some trees in the area and there were some signs of trauma that may be the reason for the injuries.”

Field said if the circumstances were different the quick response time could have saved the lives of the victims.

“It’s a tragedy. These people did the best they could and got there quick and performed CPR and in my eyes they are still heroes. (The rescuers) had to go through a horrible thing and they did a good job.”

The two men who died in the avalanche were skiing separate from the group who tried to save them. They were thought to have been checking the snow when they triggered the avalanche on themselves.

RCMP said they would not be releasing the names of the victims at this time.

Staying safe

  • Kananaskis public safety specialist George Field said there are ways to prevent such tragedies by checking the avalanche reports and preparing for the backcountry by taking safety courses. For avalanche information and warnings, visit