Avalanche Canada is alerting back-country enthusiasts that March is the deadliest month of the year for avalanches. And Alberta based snowmobilers seem to be at the highest risk.
According to it’s statistics, 15 people died in B.C. avalanches last year. 12 of them were snowmobilers. And over the last five years, Albertans make up nearly 75 percent of fatal B.C. avalanche victims.
Curtis Pawliuk is the General Manager of the Valemount and Area Recreation District, a popular snowmobiling destination for Alberta riders. “Far too often we see terrain choices that simply do not fit the conditions,” says Pawliuk. “While the snowmobile community has come a long way, we need to start seeing greater buy-in and respect for the hazards of the back-country.”
Avalanche Canada suggests everyone in a back-country party needs to have an avalanche transceiver, probe and shovel. “An Avalanche Skills Training course is the first step for anyone recreating in the back-country,” says Gilles Valade, the Executive Director of Avalanche Canada. “Unlike other user groups, snowmobiling avalanche fatalities are showing a clear pattern,” he added.
Avalanche Canada offers training courses. Information is available from its website: www.avalanche.ca