Wild encounter on mtn

A snowboarder at Big White claims to have encountered a wolf on a ski run Jan. 31, but management at Big White says it was most likely just a large dog.

Conservation officers investigated after the report, in which the man says he punched the animal in the face when it lunged at him.

Conservation officer Tanner Beck says the boarder "noticed an animal on the run ahead of them ... and thought it was a dog at first and proceeded towards the animal."

As he got closer, the man yelled to alert the animal.

“With the individual snowboarding, he continued towards it and when he got real close to it, it lunged at him and growled, and he ended up punching it in the face,” Beck said.

The man safely continued on the run.

Conservation Officers patrolled the area the next day, but could find no evidence of tracks or other sightings.

Big White's Michael J. Ballingall said: “There are dogs on the mountain that look like wolves ... there are very big husky-looking dogs on the mountain.”

Ballingall said 3,700 people skied that day, with nobody reporting any incidents.

“The snow is way too deep for wolves to be up there, so we don’t think there is a wolf up there," he said.

Ballingall noted the bottom of the Ogoslow run is "pretty quiet" and resort staff do see bobcat and lynx there often, however, no wolf sightings have ever been reported.

"There is a gentleman who parks down there and has a very large German shepherd cross. Our security sees them all the time, as he accesses the backcountry on his alpine skis with skins. We just don’t think wolves would be this high. There’s too much deep snow to access the area."

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