Skier and snow biker rescued from separate Vancouver Island avalanches


 Avalanche Canada has issued a Special Public Avalanche Warning for recreational backcountry users in BC's South Coast and Vancouver Island regions -- extending a warning issued last week through to February 4th.

Forecasters are concerned about a buried weak layer not generally found in our warmer climate.

The recent snowfall  is putting a greater load on the layer, which is deeper, and could result in deadly avalanches if triggered.

Ryan Shelly is the on-duty forecaster for Vancouver Island:

" There was actually several human-triggered avalanches involving burials yesterday up island in the Comox Valley area, Beaufort Range, and adjacent to Mt. Washington -- in the backcountry, not on the skill hill of Mt. Washington."
One incident near Mount Cameron, southwest of Courtenay, involved a group of 4 skiers. One person, a woman, was buried under over a metre of snow.

"Fortunately the group that they were with were well versed and trained and able to extricate the person from the snow in about 5 minutes, however the avalanche was large and the person suffered some trauma as a result."

The woman was airlifted to Vancouver for treatment.

In another incident a snow-biker was also buried in the backcountry near Mt. Washington.

Avalanches officials recommend backcountry recreationalists check conditions,  be prepared, and extra diligent choosing their route.

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