A group of backcountry skiers had to dig themselves out of an avalanche on Hollyburn Mountain Saturday morning.
The group were caught in a size 1.5 slide just after 9 a.m. All had proper training and equipment, and evidently, a little luck.
After their self-rescue, they reported the incident to Avalanche Canada, which logs avalanche activity and forecasts avalanche risk based on weather, snowpack and terrain. It was triggered when they transitioned from climbing to skiing the slope, according to their report.
“As others prepared to drop-in, the slightly convex drop-in feature collapsed beneath them, and the fracture immediately propagated to horizontal surrounding concave slopes, and also vertically above the party to increasingly steeper slopes, up to an undetermined/non-visible extent,” the skiers stated in their report.
Three of them were caught in the slide. Two of them deployed airbags and remained at the surface, though partially buried. One of them was fully buried.
“The fully buried skier was immediately located with transceiver search and extracted, thanks to all individuals being properly equipped and trained. There were no injuries, and all but one ski was recovered from site,” the report concluded.
Avalanche risk on the South Coast was forecast to be considerable to high in the alpine area for the weekend. As of Tuesday, that had been downgraded to moderate, though North Shore Rescue warns no one should let their guard down during winter conditions in the backcountry.