An outline of the avalanche that killed five snowmobilers in the Renshaw area near McBride. A preliminary report says the avalanche was a size three

Avalanche education encouraged

BC Coroners Service and Avalanche Canada stress need for preparedness for those heading into the backcountry.

  • Feb. 10, 2016 8:00 p.m.

In the wake of the deaths of five persons in an avalanche near McBride on Jan. 29, the BC Coroners Service and Avalanche Canada are joining to stress the need for preparedness for those heading into the backcountry this winter.

A total of 17 snowmobilers were in the Mount Renshaw Alpine Recreation Site when the avalanche hit. First responders, the Coroners Service and Avalanche Canada all note that the majority of groups had proper rescue equipment with them, and the impressive effort made by those on scene to rescue themselves and others undoubtedly prevented the loss of more lives.

However, notes Gilles Valade, executive director of Avalanche Canada, even better than knowing how to respond to an avalanche incident is knowing how to prevent one from occurring in the first place.

“Avalanche safety education is essential for all winter backcountry recreationists,” said Valade. “Basic skills, such as recognizing avalanche terrain and not exposing multiple people to overhead hazard, make a big difference in reducing the consequences of an event.”

Equipment alone is not enough, noted Chief Coroner Lisa Lapointe. Three of the five fatalities from the Renshaw avalanche had deployed avalanche airbags designed to “float” someone along the surface of a moving avalanche. But the airbags were ineffective in this case because the victims were in a gully at the bottom of a slope – an area where the debris flow of the avalanche is too constricted.

The vast majority of fatal avalanches are triggered by the victim or someone in the victim’s party.

Avalanche skills training courses teach proper trip planning, terrain selection and safe travel techniques, which can be effective in preventing accidents.

Information about current safety conditions, as well as training courses and equipment needs can be found at Avalanche Canada’s website, www.avalanche.ca.

Submitted by Avalanche Canada and the BC Coroners Service.

 

Just Posted

In Photos: Trooper attracts a crowd on Shuswap Lake

Hundreds of boats turn up to watch the Canadian rockers play atop a 94 foot houseboat

Salmon Arm Secondary hosts B.C. mountain biking championships

Over 200 riders expected to hit the trails May 25-26

Tanto Latte brings authentic Italian flavour to the Okanagan

Organic Italian cheese to be produced in Salmon Arm

Shuswap karate instructor doubles for Hollywood’s big stars

Holly Raczynski’s latest job was as a stunt double on the upcoming X-Men film, Dark Phoenix

Rain will push risk of ‘extreme flooding’ in Okanagan

River Forecast Centre says rainfall over the next 24-36 hours will have the greatest impact

VIDEO: Grand Forks shores up defences as floodwaters rise to peak levels

Canadian Forces, volunteers working to protect low-lying areas

The Okanagan shines in foodie finalist list

Western Living has released their 2018 list of finalists

B.C. Lions bring back 6-time all-star offensive lineman Jovan Olafioye

He was acquired by the Montreal Alouettes last year.

Whitecaps rally for 2-2 draw with FC Dallas

Vancouver climbed out of a two-nil hole to tie FC Dallas 2-2

B.C. VIEWS: Making sense of climate policy

Flood and fire predictions have poor track record so far

Chilliwack Chiefs moving on to RBC Cup final after thrilling win over Ottawa

Kaden Pickering scored the winning goal in the 3rd period as Chilliwack won their semi-final 3-2.

VIDEO: As floodwaters recede, crews assess the damage to Grand Forks’ downtown

More than four dozen firefighters and building inspectors came out to help

Wellington Dukes pull off epic upset of Wenatchee at RBC Cup

The Dukes are off to the championship game after downing the Wild 2-1 Saturday at Prospera Centre.

Canada to face U.S. for bronze at world hockey championship

Canada was looking to play in the gold medal game for a fourth straight year, but saw 3-2 loss

Most Read