Woman killed after three waves hit mountainside

Tom Wolfe recalled the adventurous spirit of his sister-in-law Susie Lantz, killed in an avalanche during a backcountry skiing tour on Monday.

"She was definitely one of a kind. She was a great adventurer," he said from his home in Canmore, where the 28-year-old Lantz was from.


Lantz and a Calgary skiing partner, only known as Jeanette, were part of a backcountry ski tour that turned into a nightmare on Monday afternoon, when a size 3.5 avalanche swept down a mountainside in an area known as the Chick-a-dee Valley — on the border of Banff and Kootenay national parks.

The avalanche completely buried Lantz and covered her partner up to the chest. Her skiing partner rushed to her aid only to be thwarted by a second, and then third avalanche, according to Wolfe.

"I think she (Jeanette) literally had no options at that point. She had to start thinking about saving her own life," said Wolfe.

Her skiing partner was unable to continue the search and hiked out until cellphone coverage was available to call for help.

Lantz, a former University of Calgary student and world traveller, was always seeking a new adventure and enlightening those around her, according to Wolfe, noting a courageous bike trip two years ago from Calgary to the southern tip of Argentina that Lantz did alone.

"(Lantz) was a sweet innocent and loving person," said Wolfe. "She literally had no enemies. Everybody had a very special affection for her."

Both skiers had the appropriate avalanche gear and backcountry equipment according to a Parks Canada release. It was the second avalanche death in national parks this winter.


death toll

  • Susie Lantz’s death follows another avalanche death over the Family Day weekend as 35-year-old Calgarian Doug Murray died while snowmobiling near Revelstoke, B.C. These two latest deaths bring the toll to 14 the number of avalanche-related deaths in Western Canada.

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