Avalanche Incident report for Fernie
The following incident occured on March 20 in the Fernie BC backcountry and involved snowmobilers. The location was on Coal Creek Road entrance to first hairpin turn toward rolling hills, first big face on right (left once you have done the hairpin turn).
The details from the CAC:
The individual was riding on a well pathed ridge above the face that slid. He was well aware of the large cornice(s) and stayed even further away from the "normal" snowmobile path/tracks that were there due to this. All of a sudden there was a cracking noise, the individual looked toward the cornice thinking it was on the right side of him that was fracturing when it fact it was the left and he starting sliding toward the face (it was almost like the whole top of the ridge was connected with an elbow of snow and it seemed like an earthquake). The individual's sled fell beneath and was taken in the debris but the individual fell approx 20-30 feet from the broken cornice /ridge face straight down. The slide was viewed in full from the individual as he was dropping into where the slide just let go (literally a micro second from being in it). The snowmobile was thrown approximately 200 feet down the face. Snow boulders were the size of small cars leaving trenches 100 feet long and 10 feet wide. Large trees were broken like sticks. The individual now had an unsupported huge cornice above him that had not yet fallen (approx 20 feet above) therefore there was no chance of climbing up and fellow sledder rescue was too dangerous. The sledder let things settle including himself and proceeded to radio for friends which were able to come and view the scene and to be able to watch in case anything further happened. The individual then proceeded to slowly and carefully make his way down the already slid slope to his snowmobile that was turned upside down and partially burried and damaged. After approx 10 minutes he was able to turn the sled upright and slowly right the debris out to safety as there was no other choice that seemed feasable at the time. Injuries: shoulder/bruising etc