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Snowmobiler buried by avalanche rescued by passing tour guide near Revelstoke

The man was found unconscious, in a standing position, under a metre and a half of snow.
A snowmobiler was rescued Monday, Feb. 26, 2024, outside of Revelstoke following an avalanche.

A snowmobiler was rescued Monday afternoon outside of Revelstoke following an avalanche.

Great Canadian Tours said in a social media post their guides helped rescue the buried rider, who was with another group of private snowmobilers.

The incident happened at approximately 4 p.m. when a group of riders from Great Canadian Tours was heading back towards the cabin. As they were passing through an area known as the Sugar Bowl, they spotted a group with their avalanche probes out.

Guide Olivier Meilleur discovered that one of the snowmobilers had been buried by an avalanche and the group could not locate his beacon.

Meilleur managed to locate the man, unconscious, in a standing position under a metre and a half of snow. The rescuers lifted him out of the hole and when they got him laid on the ground, he started breathing again.

The rescue team used a Jetboil stove to heat water and placed the heated water bottles close to the man's core to help him warm up.

Revelstoke Search and Rescue responded to the scene and managed to get the injured snowmobilers and everyone else to safety.

"It is no joke out there right now," said the Great Canadian Tours Facebook post.

Avalanche risk rising

According to Avalanche Canada, the danger rating in the Monashee Mountains is high and will likely remain high into the weekend.

"The conditions throughout the mountainous regions of Western Canada change on a day-to-day basis. One thing that can be noted about the Monashees around Revelstoke, it's an area that tends to get a fair bit of precipitation," says Tyson Rettie with Avalanche Canada.

Rain earlier in the year has created a weak layer of ice that is widespread throughout most of the mountainous regions of Western Canada.

"This layer has been problematic as far north as Stewart, B.C. and down to the U.S. border, and all the way out to the far eastern reaches of the Rockies, so very widespread," Rettie said.

"Right now in most areas, it's at a prime depth for human triggering, that combined with the significant amounts of new snow that we've gotten throughout most of the province over the weekend, has resulted in some elevated avalanche danger. And then as we look towards tomorrow, we've got some fairly intense precipitation hitting the coast tonight and into tomorrow, and then making its way into the Interior tomorrow through Thursday."

Because of the weather pattern, the avalanche danger is expected to rise heading into the weekend.

One person died while snowmobiling Feb. 24, near the Castle Mountain Resort on the Alberta side of the Rocky Mountains when a slide occurred last weekend.