Search-and-rescue crew braves avalanche conditions to pluck injured skier from North Shore – BC

Search-and-rescue were called to brave dangerous avalanche conditions Thursday as they rescued an injured backcountry skier near Cypress Mountain.

Barry Mason with North Shore Rescue said the skier got stuck in a treed area with a suspected fracture to their femur.

Crews deployed by helicopter, but had to have a member certified in level-two avalanche site safety on hand as well.

Read more:

3 German tourists dead after avalanche near Invermere, B.C.: mayor of German municipality

“We had to fly in there and assess the terrain and the (avalanche) hazard. We assessed we could only put two people in, package quickly and get out as fast as possible, minimize the number of people exposed,” Mason said.

“We got lucky with the weather and managed to get them out before the clouds socked in.”

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Click to play video: '3 German tourists killed in avalanche near Invermere B.C. while heli-skiing'


3 German tourists killed in avalanche near Invermere B.C. while heli-skiing


The rescue comes as experts warn of significant avalanche risk in backcountry areas across the province.

On Wednesday, three German tourists were killed in a slide near Invermere during a heli-skiing tour.

That tragedy brought the number of avalanche fatalities in B.C. this year to 12, making it the second deadliest year in the last decade.

Avalanche Canada has warned that the dangerous conditions, the result of a weak layer of snow that developed across the province early in the season, are likely to persist for months.

Read more:

Long weekend avalanche warning issued in B.C. amid deadly season

“The (avalanche) hazard is not to be messed with right now. It’s dangerous snow conditions and we want to make sure we’re minimizing the exposure of our rescuers, even though subjects are in need of medical attention we have to make sure people are staying safe,” Mason said.

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“It’s not a time right now to be backcountry skiing. The snowpack is really unstable, it’s really twitchy.”

Anyone who does plan on heading into the backcountry is advised to familiarize themselves with the avalanche forecast, to ensure they’re packing all of the essential safety equipment and to leave a trip plan with someone saying when they’re meant to return.

You can find out more about avalanche safety at Avalanche Canada’s website.

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