Safety a key at Kicking Horse Mountain Resort

An update on the avalanche that happened at the Kicking Horse Mountain Resort on Dec. 30.

Two avalanches were triggered in the Dogtooth Range on Dec. 30. One happened at Kicking Horse Mountain Resort while the other occurred outside of the resort controlled area in Rudy’s Bowl

The RCMP activated the Golden Search and Rescue techs to complete a search of an avalanche reported  in “Rudy’s Bowl” outside of the resort’s controlled ski area, mid day Friday, Dec. 30.

The slide was reportedly triggered by a group of three skiers. The search was concluded late Friday afternoon with the determination made by searchers that no persons had been buried nor injured as a result of the avalanche. “At this time the Golden RCMP has not received any reports of missing skiers.  Although a determination has been made with a high degree of confidence that no persons remain buried in the ‘Rudy’s Bowl’ area slide. In order to identify the group of skiers and further confirm that all are accounted for safe and sound, we will continue our investigative efforts.  We are asking that the three skiers involved contact the Golden RCMP at 250-344-2221,” stated Cpl. Dan Moskaluk in a written statement.

At 12 p.m. a party reported a second avalanche in Feuz Bowl to Kicking Horse Mountain Resort staff. The party was buried in the avalanche, but was dug out by his ski partner, and both skied out on their own.

The Resort’s Mountain Safety personnel immediately activated their avalanche rescue plan.  As part of this procedure the resort temporally closed all lifts for public upload.

“We really have to do our due diligence in situations like these,” said KHMR spokesperson Jordan Petrovics. “It was pretty textbook in terms of how we dealt with it.”

Petrovics added that the lifts were closed for about an hour and a half, making it the first time in three years the resort has had to take such measures.

The cause of the avalanche is currently under investigation by the Kicking Horse Mountain Resort safety personnel.

The site was fully searched with avalanche probes, avalanche transceivers and RECCO device by Kicking Horse Mountain Resort personnel and certified Canadian Avalanche Rescue Dogs (CARDA).

“We received great support from the RCMP and other groups, and are happy to report that no one was hurt,” said Petrovics.

“In a situation like this, safety for all of our guests and employees is number one priority,” said Steve Paccagnan, President and CEO of Kicking Horse Mountain Resort.  “As part of the resort’s avalanche and emergency procedure, an extensive search was completed to confirm that no persons were in the debris field and the area was safe.”

Kicking Horse Mountain Resort re-opened for regular hours at 1:35 p.m. and continued to operate through the holidays.