Heli skier killed in avalanche in B.C.'s Columbia Valley
A photo of the B.C. backcountry is seen on an image on RK Heliski's website. (RK Heliski).
CTV British Columbia
Published Tuesday, February 19, 2013 10:38AM PST
Last Updated Tuesday, February 19, 2013 3:59PM PST
A 34-year-old heli skier has been killed in an avalanche east of Jumbo Mountain in B.C.’s Columbia Valley.
Gotz-Thilo Ries, a German national, was on his sixth run of the day Monday with two of his friends when the group was caught in a Class 2 slide approximately 150 metres wide, say RCMP. The slide ran down the mountain more than 300 metres.
The three men were with other skiers and a heli guide from the RK Heliski, which has operated for more than 40 years in the Purcell Backcountry.
The guide and several members of the group used beacons to locate two of the men buried in the snow. One sustained non-life threatening injuries and the other was uninjured.
The third man was found unresponsive under the snow. He was flown to Invermere Hospital by ski helicopter but attempts to revive him were unsuccessful.
There were no weather problems in the area, RCMP say, and all of the skiers were trained to use guide beacons before heading out on their ski adventure.
“Assistance by the guide resulted in the quick recovery of the one person that was buried and survived,” said Sgt. Marko Shehovac, in a statement emailed to CTV News.
The BC Coroners Service is now investigating the official cause of death.
Guides with RK Heliski are certified by the Association of Canadian Mountain Guides or by the International Federation of Mountain Guide Association, according to a post on its website.