Avalanche buries skier on Kootenay Pass in the West Kootenay

A skier has been flown to Trail Regional Hospital with undetermined injuries after an avalanche in the West Kootenay

TMTV.NET – Nelson BC Canada – The avalanche happened early this afternoon (Sunday Dec 31) in Stagleap Provincial Park on Cornice Ridge which is located at the top of Kootenay Pass in southeast BC, between the communities of Salmo and Creston.

RCMP along with local Search and Rescue crews attended the scene were the victim was then flown to Trail Regional Hospital.

The extent of the skiers injuries is not known at this time.

DriveBC Webcam showing the parking lot at Kootenay Pass Sunday Dec 31.

The area is popular with skiers because of the deep snow and easy access to the location from the parking lot at Kootenay Pass.

No further information has been provided by the RCMP.

Avalanche Summary from Avalanche.ca

Photo: http://www.avalanche.ca

(Avalanche Canada) – On Tuesday (Jan 2, 2018) reported avalanche activity was limited to minor snowballing and pinwheeling, although a small solar induced slab released from a steep rocky feature late in the day. On Monday another avalanche failing on the mid-December interface was triggered remotely from 10 m away as a skier approached a rocky outcropping on an east/southeast facing feature around 1900 m, MIN report with photos here. A skier also triggered a small storm slab on a west facing feature around 2200 m Monday which was suspected to have failed on the late December surface hoar.

Power Ridge Avalanche – Map/Photo provided by Avalanche Canada

On Sunday Dec 31, 2017 a skier was involved in an avalanche on an east facing treeline feature at Kootenay Pass, the avalanche appears to have failed on the mid-December interface.


Number involved
Terrain shape at trigger point
Snow depth at trigger point


Total in the group?
People fully buried?

On Saturday we received two reports of large avalanches failing on the mid-December interface. The first was initiated by explosive control work, the size 2.5 avalanche ran on a 35 to 40 degree slope that was southeast through southwest facing at treeline. The second avalanche was a size 3.0 that released naturally on a 30 degree east facing slope between 1900 and 1400 m. This crown was up to 75 cm in depth.

Snowpack Summary

Last week two successive storms produced 25 to 50 cm of low density storm snow that was accompanied by moderate to strong winds out of the east, southeast, south and southwest. The new snow overlies the late December surface hoar which is 3 to 5 mm in size. We don’t know much about the distribution of this weak layer yet. Warming temperatures on Tuesday began to moisten the snow surface on steep southerly aspects. Surface hoar has started to blossom on the surface recently too.

Between 60 and 100 cm below the surface you’ll find the December 15th interface which consists of a melt-freeze crust on steep, solar, higher elevation slopes and well-developed surface hoar which seems most pronounced in sheltered terrain at and below treeline. The overlying slab is now deep and is gaining cohesion. This interface has hit the tipping point for human triggering as evidenced by recent avalanche activity listed above.

The lower snowpack is thought to be strong and well-settled.

Weather Forecast

Temperatures along the coast have moderated and this trend should linger through Wednesday as a southwesterly flow of mild Pacific air continues. With cold Arctic air trapped in the deep valleys of the eastern interior ranges, the warm up there will be slow. Those hoping for fresh snow will have to wait until late in the week.

WEDNESAY: Clear skies, freezing level at valley bottom, light variable wind, no snow expected.

THURSDAY: Clear skies with cloud building in the afternoon, freezing level at valley bottom, potential for a light temperature inversion in the afternoon, light southwest wind picking up through the day, no snow expected.

FRIDAY: Overcast, freezing level around 500 m, light to moderate southwest wind, trace of precipitation possible.

More details can be found on the Mountain Weather Forecast.