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.