A 30-year-old member of the Whistler-Blackcomb ski patrol is dead after being caught in an avalanche outside Pemberton Thursday afternoon.

Duncan MacKenzie was skiing with three friends, all with backcountry experience, in the Casper Creek area north of Pemberton at around 3 p.m. when the slide swept him away from his companions.

Mounties estimate MacKenzie was pushed roughly 1800 metres down the mountain. When his friends managed to reach him, he was unconscious and severely injured.

One of the skiers stayed with him while the other two went for help. Sgt. Peter Thiessen said rescue teams headed out on foot and snowmobiles, but were unable to reach the area until about 11 p.m.; MacKenzie had already died.

"If you can imagine staying on that mountain with one of your best friends that required help, whose life was in danger... carrying out CPR for an extended period of time -- that's what that individual was trying to do for his freind," Thiessen said. "Unfortunately, he succumbed to those injuries."

The deceased's employer issued a statement Friday describing him as "a keen athlete and outdoor enthusiast."

"Whistler-Blackcomb would like to express our most sincere condolences to Duncan's friends, colleagues and family," it read.

Thiessen said authorities initially tried to reach MacKenzie via helicopter, but fading daylight made the air rescue impossible. Search teams managed to make it into the air on Friday afternoon, however, and flew MacKenzie's body off the mountain at around 12:30 p.m.

The slide came just days after the Canadian Avalanche Centre warned backcountry enthusiasts of a heightened risk of avalanches.

On Wednesday, the organization said there was increased risk throughout the North Shore Mountains, Whistler and the surrounding Sea-to-Sky region, the South Coast inland area, from the North Columbia area down through the Kootenays, and in sections of the Northwest.

Avalanche forecaster Peter Marshall told CTV News the risk is due to a heavy snowfall followed by several dry weeks in early December.

"It's a perfect recipe for avalanches," Marshall said. "You really want to be careful anywhere you go in this period."

Skiers and snowboarders are advised to stick to marked trails.

With files from CTV.ca