BC Coroners Service urges proper preparation for backcountry outings

Right now is a particularly dangerous time to be in the mountains

  • Mar. 9, 2013 2:00 p.m.

The destructive power of an avalanche is awesome

VICTORIA – Avalanche season is reaching its peak in British Columbia. The BC

Coroners Service is encouraging all those going out into the backcountry – be it

on skis, snowboards or snowmobiles – to take special care to ensure their own

safety and that of others.


The BC Coroners Service, working with the Canadian Avalanche Centre (CAC) and

Emergency Management BC (EMBC), has found that over the past several winters,

avalanche awareness has been improving. A higher proportion of backcountry users

are carrying essential avalanche safety equipment-transceivers, shovels and

probes. Avalanche airbag packs are highly effective when worn/deployed properly

(including the leg-strap).


However, many still have not taken enough training to use that equipment with

maximum effectiveness. A person buried in an avalanche can suffocate in minutes

– long before help can arrive – so the ability to perform quick and effective

self-rescue and companion rescue is vital.


Information about training courses is provided through the CAC. On the CAC

website at www.avalanche.ca – you will find a basic online course, as well as

information on introductory and advanced Avalanche Skills Training courses. This

training is essential for anyone planning to venture into the backcountry in



A study by the BC Coroners Service of avalanche deaths from the past 16 years

found that:


Between Jan. 1, 1996, and Dec. 31, 2012, there were:

* An average of 10.1 avalanche-related deaths each year.

* During this period 127 avalanches caused 181 deaths. Twenty-nine of these

avalanches caused multiple deaths.

* The average age of the decedents was 36.1 years.

* 90.1 per cent of decedents were male and 9.9 per cent were female.

* 68.0 per cent decedents of avalanche-related deaths occurred in the Interior

region, 21.5 per cent in the Northern region, 8.3 per cent in the Metro region,

1.7 per cent in the Island region and 0.6 per cent in the Fraser region.

* 40.9 per cent of decedents were snowmobiling, 30.9 per cent were skiing, 18.2

per cent were heli-skiing, 5.0 per cent were snowboarding and 4.4 per cent were

hiking or climbing.


Virtually all of these deaths were preventable.

Just Posted

B.C. BUDGET: Surplus $374 million after bailouts of BC Hydro, ICBC

Growth projected stronger in 2020, Finance Minister Carole James says

Lemon Creek fuel truck driver gets $20,000 fine

Danny LaSante was sentenced in Nelson court today

South Slocan woman killed in Friday crash

Police continue to investigate cause of fatal crash

Castlegar’s Stanley Humphries School’s got talent

Talent show to be held Feb. 21 at Brilliant Cultural Centre

VIDEO: 8 things you need to know about the 2019 B.C. budget

Surplus of $247 million with spending on children, affordability and infrastructure

‘Bullet missed me by an inch’: Man recounts friend’s killing at Kamloops hotel

Penticton man witnessed Summerland resident Rex Gill’s murder in Kamloops

B.C. BUDGET: Income assistance raise still leaves many below poverty line

$50 per month increase included in funding for poverty and homelessness reduction

B.C. BUDGET: Indigenous communities promised billions from gambling

Extended family caregiver pay up 75 per cent to keep kids with relatives

B.C. BUDGET: New benefit increases family tax credits up to 96 per cent

BC Child Opportunity Benefit part of province’s efforts to reduce child poverty

B.C. BUDGET: Carbon tax boosts low-income credits, electric vehicle subsidies

Homeowners can get up to $14,000 for heating, insulation upgrades

B.C. man survives heart attack thanks to Facebook

A Princeton man suffered a heart attack while at an isolated property with no cell service

B.C. man sues Maxime Bernier’s People’s Party over trademark

Satinder Dhillon filed application for trademark same day Maxime Bernier announced the new party

New trial ordered over banning whales, dolphins at Vancouver aquarium

Park board’s appeal reverses previous decision that found it had no right to implement a ban

Most Read