The B.C. Coroner’s service is adding its voice to an avalanche warning issued for the Easter long weekend.
It comes in the wake of what has been a particularly deadly avalanche season.
Barb McLintock with the B.C. Coroner’s service says there have already been 13 avalanche related deaths this year, nearly all of them snowmobiliers.
“12 of the the 13 deaths so far have been snowmobilers, one was a skier. And although snowmobilers usually are a high proportion of our avalanche deaths that is unusually high.”
McLintock says until the service stopped tracking avalanche death averages in 2014, B.C. was averaging 10 per year.
But she says events like the avalanche that killed five snowmobilers at once near Prince George can skew the numbers.
“So we’re a little bit over, but we are over every year when we do have a multi-fatality event like we did this year sadly.”
With the long weekend coming up and plenty of snow on the hills, McLintock says the Coroner’s service is asking people to be particulary careful.
“Please, everybody if you’re going out in the backcountry, especially if you’re going snowmobiling, since it seems to have been an especially bad year for snowmobilers, do take some extra care, make sure someone has the training, and check the avalanche conditions.”
A Special Avalanche Warning has been issued for the Easter Long weekend.
Avalanche Canada says the warning applies to mountain ranges running along the B.C. – Alberta border.
People should be very careful going into the backcountry in Banff, Yoho, Kootenay, and Jasper National Parks, along with the Purcells, and the North Rockies.
Avalanche Canada is warning of a buried weak layer that can cause large human triggered and natural avalanches.
It says inexperienced people should stay away and those who are experienced in the backcountry should be extremely cautious.
Map of affected areas (in red):
With files from Simon Little and Shane Woodford