Four say they wouldn't take avalanche risks
The high risk of avalanches has local ski hills taking a strict approach with people who venture out of bounds.
Despite this, four men who were kicked out of Grouse Mountain Resort and banned for venturing out of bounds in front of camera crews last week were back on the slopes Sunday -- at Whistler.
Backcountry enthusiasts James Hillier, Graham Haywood, Sean Nixon and Andrew Petsnick say they didn't need help while at the North Shore resort.
"We could have got out of there no problem ourselves and it's just too bad that it got escalated so quickly," said Petsnick.
This comes two days after losing pass privileges at Grouse Mountain for venturing out of bounds. It was a trek that prompted an immediate helicopter search -- for which the four are being told they will have to pay.
"We went out there with the proper equipment and knowledge to take those risks and we find that it's inappropriate that we are bring punished so harshly," said Hillier.
"Unfortunately we're being used as an example, which is a little unfair, in our opinion," said Haywood.
But opinions vary at the end of a week that's seen 10 deaths due to avalanches in B.C., and Grouse Mountain is still threatening to circulate their names to other resorts.
Local resident Dean Edwards was sympathetic.
"I can see where [the resorts are] coming from, but I think it's a bit harsh," he said.
"They're putting other people at risk to save their lives, you know I just don't think there's room to be stupid, disagreed Dale Mikkelsen.
The rescuers are with Mikkelson on this.
"I think they're very sincere young men and I think they're passionate about what they do, but I think it was a poor choice," said Tim Jones of North Shore Search and Rescue.
So far Grouse Mountain hasn't tallied the cost of the search, sent a bill or circulated their names. Whistler Blackcomb said that until this happens they will be treated like any other guest -- all of whom would have their Whistler Blackcomb passes revoked and be subject to a year-long ban if they ventured out of bounds at the resort.
The young men say they regularly check avalanche danger... and acknowledge that here in the alpine the risk is too high.
"Would we access dangerous avalanche prone terrain that isn't recommended to be skied -- of course not. That would be foolish and we would never take that risk," said Petsnick.
With a report from CTV British Columbia's Sarah Galashan