What was meant to be a fun way to blow off some steam and enjoy the holidays ended tragically for one Slave Lake man this weekend.
According to CTV Edmonton, a 29-year-old man was found dead in his yard after being dropped off following his work Christmas party last Friday night.
CTV reports that the man drank "a large quantity of alcohol" before returning home around 2 a.m. Saturday afternoon.
What happened next is unclear, but he was found dead in his backyard about 18 hours later after the mercury had plunged to -21 C that night, says CBC Edmonton. RCMP said he likely died of exposure.
The man has been identified to CTV by friends as Chris Robichaud, who was orginally from New Brunswick, but moved to Slave Lake about six months ago with his seven-year-old son and infant daughter.
"I think you see that for the most part hypothermia sneaks up on a lot of people," Jeff Banyard with Slave Lake EMT told CTV. "You dress warm, you feel warm but cold can sneak up on you so quickly.
"If you make a poor choice, and you maybe stay outside too long or you're drinking alcohol and you're outside and you're making poor decisions hypothermia can be on you in minutes."
Robichaud's death followed another impaired drinking death in the area last week.
Global Edmonton reports a man in his fourties died of head injuries last Friday when he fell down a set of stairs while drunk.
"We all know that impaired driving is illegal, but the public also needs to know that there are other serious risks associated with drinking to excess anywhere at any time," Sgt. Roberta McKale of the Slave Lake RCMP said in a release.
"The spirit of the season is to create positive warm memories, not painful ones of grief and loss. When people drink too much, they make bad choices so we all have to be aware of the risks to ensure our friends and family stay safe."
Slave Lake is approximately 250 kilometres north of Edmonton.