News / Calgary

Alberta avalanche risk still high days after two snowshoers found dead

Avalanche Canada urges people to stay off the alpines in Banff, Yoho and Kootenay

People are being warned to stay out of the back country in Alberta's Rocky Mountains due to high risk of avalanche.

Metro File

People are being warned to stay out of the back country in Alberta's Rocky Mountains due to high risk of avalanche.

Days after two snowshoers died in an avalanche north of Lake Louise, Avalanche Canada is warning skiers, snowshoers and climbers to remain off the mountains in the area.

According to a release on Sunday, avalanche risk is still very high in the Banff, Yoho and Kootenay areas, especially at the alpine and above-tree levels. The size of avalanches is expected to range from large to very large.

Officials at the Lake Louise Ski Resort are urging guests to stay within the resort boundaries.

“It’s definitely not safe,” said communications director Dan Markham. “Everything within our boundaries is controlled by us, from an avalanche perspective, so it’s safe for skiing and snowshoeing. But venturing off the property or into the back country is clearly not being advised by those agencies (Parks and Avalanche Canada).”

Last week, two American snowshoers, a 32-year-old man and 32-year-old woman, were caught in an avalanche on the slopes of Mount Hector. The pair were reported missing on Tuesday, after failing to check out of their hotel. Crews flew over the area in a helicopter, picking up two avalanche transceiver signals.

Officials were finally able to search the area on Friday, after conducting avalanche control, and both the bodies were recovered.

Over the next few days, the avalanche risk factor is expected to drop from ‘high’ to ‘considerable,’ which still denotes dangerous avalanche conditions. Conservative decision-making is encouraged.

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