Castle Mountain Resort was busy this Family Day Long weekend but safety remained top of mind.
An avalanche buried a pair of students near the British Columbia-Alberta border Friday morning. The two people escaped the in-bounds avalanche completely unscathed.
“The avalanche happened very closely to where the patrol hut is,” said Jason Crawford, director of mountain operations with the ski hill. “The patrollers who were in that shack witnessed it happening.”
Within minutes of seeing the avalanche, rescuers rushed to the scene.
“Our mountain safety team started with a ‘recco’ search, using a device known as ‘recco’ and then quickly moved on to a probe search after receiving interference with that device. A secondary search was performed by trained Canadian avalanche association dogs,” said Cole Fawcett, a marketing manager with Castle Mountain Resort.
The K-9s were brought in to pick up the scent of anyone possibly stuck in the snow.
“They did indeed locate articles such as skies and poles but didn’t locate any persons as they had already been dug out by our mountain safety team,” Fawcett said.
Safety measures are part of the day-to-day operations for resorts in avalanche country.
“We have had inbound avalanches before,” Crawford said. “They’re very rare — our mountain safety team does a great job at avalanche mitigation. Through use of ski cuts, cat control, also through the use of explosives.”
Timeline of Canada’s deadliest avalanches
Explosive devices have played a major role in avalanche control this season as snow packs levels have been fairly high with the recent snowfall.
“I don’t think a person should be worried visiting a ski resort,,” Fawcett said. “They are highly controlled environments.”
“Safety is our number one concern here at Castle and that’s for our guests and for our employees as well,” Crawford said.
According to Castle Mountain, the investigation is ongoing. Avalanche control will continue at the resort on a daily basis until the end of the season.
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