NEWS

Avalanche warning for northern and inland B.C.

03/22/2013 09:11 EDT | Updated 05/22/2013 05:12 EDT
The Canadian Avalanche Centre has issued a special warning for the northwest coastal and inland regions.

The warning applies to areas that include Kitimat, Terrace, Stewart, Hazelton and Smithers.

An avalanche could be triggered by just the weight of a skier or snowmobiler, even on low angle terrain, says Ilya Storm, forecast co-ordinator with the Canadian Avalanche Centre.

"What's special about this is that it extends into the alpine, so it's at high elevation," Storm said. "We're seeing surprisingly big avalanches with wide propagations and even remotely triggered avalanches."

The warning is in effect immediately and will carry into the weekend.

Storm says while the sunny weather this weekend may be inviting to skiers and snowboarders, he advises backcountry users in the area to be extra cautious.

Skiers warned of tree wells

Skiers are also being warned to beware of tree wells this weekend after a 70-year-old man died while sking north of Trout Lake, southeast of Revelstoke, B.C.

On Thursday afternoon, a California man travelling with the Great Northern Cat Skiing tour group fell into a tree well — a deep hole created by packed snow at the base of a tree.

The other skiers pulled him out and performed CPR, but the man died at the scene, said Barb McLintock, spokeswoman for the B.C. Corones Service.

"Tree wells are constantly a risk for skiers unless you're on a groomed run," she said.

McLintock said there are usually one to two tree well deaths in B.C. every year.

The B.C. Coroners Service and RCMP are now investigating the death.

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