Shocking Snowmobile Video Highlights Exactly What Not To Do in the Backcountry

By Contributor
April 6th, 2009

A video posted recently on You Tube is a chilling demonstration of what can happen when the advice from the Canadian Avalanche Centre (CAC) is ignored. The video shows a snowmobiler climbing a steep face in the Monashee Mountains near Valemount, BC. Taped just two days ago, the snowmobiler climbs past the high marks left by previous riders. Just after the machine reaches the top of its curve, the slope fractures and rider and machine are carried down in a very large avalanche.

“He is an incredibly fortunate rider,” says CAC Operations Manager John Kelly. “You can see the person somehow ends up riding out at the bottom, so we know we’re not watching someone die. But it very easily could have ended that way.”

The number of snowmobilers killed in avalanches this season is double the worst season on record. Of the 24 avalanche fatalities this year, 18 have been snowmobilers. All but one of the fatal accidents this year have been in BC.

“The winter isn’t over yet,” warns Kelly. “Seeing video like this tells we still have a long way to go in terms of getting our message out. This slope has all the features we’ve been warning people about, which tells us these riders are either not reading or not heeding our advice. There’s a lot to be learned from this video. Now, more people need to pay attention to the lesson.”


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