Search teams in Kelowna combed the mountainside at Big White ski resort yesterday for a skier thought to have been buried in an avalanche.

Meanwhile, two snowboarders, one a 12-year-old boy, were partially buried in the snow slide. They were quickly dug out by ski patrollers and taken to hospital with undisclosed injuries.

The avalanche swept down Parachute Bowl on a steep run called The Cliff just before 11 a.m., according to Michael Ballingall, resort senior vice-president.


A large section of snow became dislodged at the top of the mountain and slid down the slope on either side of the lift in an area open to skiers.

Ballingall said up to 45 ski patrollers, police and staff from the Canadian Avalanche Centre were on the scene, along with a police helicopter and two search and rescue dogs.

The centre’s avalanche experts had been doing a training exercise on the mountain at the time.

Ski patrol had checked the bowl yesterday morning before opening the area to skiers and found it to be safe, said Ballingall.

The slide covered about four acres, and Ballingall said the snow was likely softened by the first day of warm sun the mountain had seen in two weeks.

Icy deaths

  • It was potentially B.C.’s third fatal avalanche in two weeks.

  • One man died, another was injured in an avalanche in a closed area of Whistler on New Year’s Day. Two other men were killed in an avalanche while snowmobiling near 100 Mile House on Christmas Eve.

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