Avalanche Canada reports that four backcountry skiers had a close call in the Elk Valley on Saturday after triggering a small avalanche that fully buried one of them.
The group was able to self-rescue, using a transceiver and a probe to locate the buried skier, who was found caught around two trees 70 feet away from impact. Her snowboard had come undone and her boot had been ripped off, both of which were not found in the snow.
The avalanche was triggered in an area by Barnes and Elliot Lakes south of Sparwood after the group had climbed up a ridge and began their descent. During the ascent, the group experienced a ‘whumph’ and therefore decided to choose a downhill line through some trees due to concerns with slabs in steep open areas.
After descending partway, they all regrouped when one of the members noticed that an avalanche had been triggered 200 feet above.
As the avalanche rolled downhill, one member held tightly on to a tree while another member was caught up and carried a short distance but wasn’t buried.
Everyone was able to extricate safely back to Corbin with no significant injuries, according to the report.