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Calgary man killed in avalanche near Egypt Lake in Banff National Park

cbc.ca logo cbc.ca 2019-03-18 Robson Fletcher
a close up of a mountain: Two small skier-triggered avalanches are seen in this file photo taken near the Alberta-British Columbia border. © Robson Fletcher/CBC Two small skier-triggered avalanches are seen in this file photo taken near the Alberta-British Columbia border.

A 36-year-old Calgary man was killed in an avalanche near Egypt Lake in Banff National Park on the weekend, while a second skier survived, according to police.

RCMP Const. Mike Hibbs said the avalanche happened Saturday afternoon near the Egypt Lake Shelter.

Two male skiers were caught in the slide, Hibbs said.

The skier who survived was partially buried in the slide, said Lisa Paulson, a visitor safety specialist with Parks Canada. He was able to get himself free of the snow but it took a long time, she said.

The skier then made his way to the shelter, where he found people with emergency satellite communication devices, who activated them to call for a rescue.

Parks Canada got the call around 7 p.m. MT Saturday evening, leaving just enough daylight left to send a helicopter to the area, Paulson said.

The injured skier hadn't been fully buried in the avalanche but had suffered severe injuries in the slide.

He was taken to hospital in Banff, where he was pronounced dead.

Skier-triggered slide

Paulson said the avalanche was a skier-triggered and size-2.5 slide on the five-point scale used by Avalanche Canada.

On that scale, a size-2 slide is defined as enough to bury, injure or kill a person. A size-3 avalanche is large enough to bury a car, break trees or destroy a small, wood-framed building.

Parks Canada had rated the avalanche danger in Banff on Saturday as high in the alpine and considerable at treeline and below treeline.

On Monday, Avalanche Canada issued a special avalanche warning after a rapid temperature increase across British Columbia and Alberta.

"Any time the snowpack is hit with a big change, it tends to destabilize," avalanche forecaster Grant Helgeson said in a release.

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