Two Snowmobiler Avalanche Fatalities this Weekend; A Third Has Close Call
Blue River Avalanche Fatality
On Saturday, Feb 9th, a snowmobiler died in an avalanche near Blue River, British Columbia. Although details are scarce, North District RCMP Cpl. Madonna Saunderson has confirmed that at 3:12 p.m., Valemount RCMP were notified of an emergency beacon activation and provided GPS coordinates of an avalanche incident. The caller reported that one male in a party of snowmobilers had been killed in an avalanche. Search and Rescue were dispatched to assist in the rescue and recovery operation.
The avalanche occurred near the Bone Creek FSR area, located along BC Highway 5 some 70 km south of Valemount. It is unknown how many snowmobilers were in the area at the time.
The identity of the deceased has not yet been confirmed.
Coalville Avalanche Fatality
Also on Saturday, a party of three was snowmobiling in the Chalk Creek area near Coalville, UT, when one member was fully buried and killed by an avalanche. The deceased has been identified as 49-year-old Jason Lyman of Mona, Utah.
The large avalanche occurred shortly after 1 p.m. and is estimated to have been 150-180 m wide and 180-240 cm deep. The victim was buried for 30-40 minutes. After recovery, the companions and others who joined in the rescue performed CPR for 40 minutes until a Utah Department of Public Safety helicopter arrived, at which time Lyman was transported to an Evanston, Wyoming hospital where he was pronounced dead.
Professionals from the Utah Avalanche Center visited the site the next day, where they encountered one Lyman’s riding companions—Shannon—recovering the victim’s sled. Shannon and his 14-year-old son had been riding with Lyman, and he recounts the story of what happened in a video from the Utah Avalanche Center.
Kamas Close Call
Also on Saturday, a male riding a snow bike had a close call in the Woodlands area near Kamas, UT, located just 40 km south of Coalville. The rider was fully buried with just his hand exposed to rescuers, who were prepared with all the necessary avalanche companion rescue equipment. The rider was rescued without injury.
The Utah Avalanche Center reposted a social media post by one of the friend and rescuers of the victim, which shows images of the burial and location, along with a description of the event.
February 7 Avalanche Fatality in Southwest Utah
These three incidents come just two days after the avalanche death of a snowmobiler in the Tushar Mountains of Southwest Utah on February 7th, 2019.
Mountain Sledder offers its most sincere condolences to the family and friends of these tragic events. Please always be prepared to perform an avalanche companion rescue, and ride safe out there.