Skier buried by avalanche

A backcountry skier is recovering in hospital after being caught in an avalanche east of Apex Mountain on Sunday.

Penticton and District Search and Rescue received a report around 2:30 p.m. of a 35-year-old male that had been buried by a 2.5 ranked avalanche.

A group of four skiers managed to rescue their partner and were able to call for help with a SPOT emergency beacon and cell phone.

PENSAR manager Dale Jorgensen said 14 PENSAR members were activated, along with members of Osoyoos and Oliver Search and Rescue and Princeton Search and Rescue Team that were placed on standby.

“In such high-risk scenarios where avalanche risk is extremely high, SAR teams need to have trained avalanche response personnel to assess and enter the area,” Jorgensen said.

While the avalanche occurred outside of the Apex Ski Resort, resort staff and a trained avalanche technician from the Ministry of Transportation assisted with the evacuation.

As daylight faded, a rescue team from Apex ski patrol was airlifted into the area, where they skied in and located the group. The injured skier was extracted via helicopter and transferred to an ambulance waiting at the resort

The injuries to the skier were not life threatening.

PENSAR is reminding the public that avalanche risk in the backcountry is high, and travellers need to be prepared.

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