Young skier falls to his death on Blackcomb Mountain
Friends and family are mourning the tragic loss of a young Vancouver Island ski racer who fell off a cliff on Blackcomb Mountain Saturday afternoon.
The young man has been identified on social media as 18-year-old Cole Anderson, an elite skier who was at Whistler over the weekend to train with his team.
Practice was cancelled Saturday because there was too much fresh snow, so the group headed out to enjoy the slopes.
Whistler Blackcomb mountain operations director Doug MacFarlane said the team went off trail on a black diamond run called Straight Shot, and ventured into a marked cliff area.
“They were skiing on the edge of it, and unfortunately this young fellow just got a little close to the edge and tried to stop but couldn’t prevent himself from falling off the cliff,” MacFarlane said.
Anderson fell more than 12 metres into a treed area.
Ski Patrol was called to the scene just before 3 p.m. and found the teenager unconscious and unresponsive, with his friends attempting first aid.
Nine patrollers, two Whistler Blackcomb doctors, and one paramedic took over with an automated external defibrillator, but the skier couldn’t be saved. He was pronounced dead at 3:41 p.m.
Anderson was wearing a helmet.
He was remembered by friends on social media Sunday as a kind, caring person. Video on his Facebook page shows him participating in the ALS Ice Bucket Challenge.
“I grew up with him since we were little playing youth soccer,” friend Ryan Hunter told CTV News in a message. “He’s always been a really nice guy and great to be around.”
Anderson’s death was the second fatal accident at Whistler Blackcomb this year. Just over a month ago, a 29-year-old snowboarder, who was also wearing a helmet, died after skiing into a forested in-bounds area of the Harmony Bowl.
MacFarlane said skiing is inherently dangerous, and he hopes the tragedies serve as a reminder to all skiers and snowboarders to be cautious on the hills and heed all posted signs.
“We spend a lot of time clearly marking areas, whether cliffs or permanent closures or avalanche closures, for a reason so we really hope that people adhere to the message we’re trying to give them.”
With a report from CTV Vancouver’s Tom Popyk and files from The Canadian Press