Sued for avalanche death

The widow of an Alberta man who died in an avalanche near Golden is suing the guides, their mountain guide association and the lodge operator.

Sixty-four-year-old Douglas Churchill and his wife Sheila were among 13 people skiing in the backcountry, about 50 kilometres northwest of Golden, when a large avalanche struck in February 2016.

The statement of claim filed in B.C. Supreme Court says five people were completely buried, including her husband, who died from his injuries, while she also suffered significant injuries.

The notice of claim names the lodge operator, Golden Alpine Holiday Inc., three employees and the Association of Canadian Mountain Guides as defendants, outlining a list of claims including that they ignored avalanche predictions and failed to exercise reasonable care.

None of the allegations has been proven in court and the defendants haven't yet filed a statement of defence in the action.

Sheila Churchill is suing for negligence, breach of fiduciary duties and breach of contract.

Golden Alpine Holiday, the employee and the guides were not immediately available for comment. The Association of Canadian Mountain Guides declined comment because the case is now before the courts.

In February 2016, Golden Alpine Holiday's owner John Bell said the group was on a self-guided tour.

"We are very forthright about any avalanche warnings. In fact, as soon as the special advisory came out we were very proactive in issuing that," Bell said at the time. 

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