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Canmore family doctor identified as Mt. Hector avalanche victim

A local family doctor and beloved Canmorite, Laura Kosakoski, was identified as the victim in Friday afternoon's avalanche on Mt. Hector near Lake Louise

BOW VALLEY – A local family doctor and beloved Canmorite, Laura Kosakoski, has been identified as the victim in Friday afternoon's avalanche on Mount Hector near Lake Louise. 

Kosakoski's husband, Adam Campbell, took to Facebook early Monday (Jan. 13) morning to post tributes to his wife, writing "because of your smile you made life more beautiful." 

In a news release sent out by Avalanche Canada (AC) late Monday afternoon, Campbell, who is an AC board member, said Kosakoski was the most incredible woman he knew. 

"Laura was the most incredible woman—loving, compassionate, curious, passionate and absolutely beautiful. Laura has been my rock, and has shown me that true beauty, love and joy can be found in even the most trying of circumstances," the release said.

"That spirit defined her, and we’re keeping that close to our hearts today. Laura touched so many lives, and there are no words to express how deeply she will be missed." 

Campbell also sent out a thank you to those who assisted with the rescue Friday afternoon. 

"We would like to offer our heartfelt thanks to everyone who assisted with the rescue efforts including STARS, the Canmore Rescue Helicopter, the Parks Canada public safety team, and the Foothills Medical Centre staff," he wrote. 

"At this time we’re stepping back to grieve together as a family and thank you for respecting our privacy as we try to come to terms with this loss.”  

Kosakoski was backcountry skiing with Campbell and another friend Friday afternoon when the avalanche occurred. The 32-year-old doctor was buried in the avalanche for 45 minutes before she was found.  

Alpine Helicopters Inc. confirmed in a Facebook post that its crew transported her from Mount Hector to the Banff warden office, where she was picked up by STARS air ambulance and taken to Foothills Medical Centre in Calgary at approximately 5 p.m.

A report on Avalanche Canada's website from Friday afternoon stated that there was a serious incident at Mount Hector. The post  indicated the 2.5 sized avalanche was a "serious accident."

"Serious accident today," reported Snow Safety on the site. "Party possibly remotely triggered the size 2.5 avalanche on Mount Hector. It may have started as a windslab release with possible involvement of the upper surface hoar/facet/stellar Dec. 31 persistent layer, which then stepped down to the weak basal deep persistent layer in places." 

STARS spokesperson Mark Oddan confirmed Kosakoski was in critical condition when she was transported. The Outlook confirmed she passed away in hospital Saturday (Jan. 11). 

"No light shines brighter," wrote Campbell on Facebook. 

A memorial for Kosakoski will be held at the Bill Warren Training Centre on Saturday (Jan. 18) at 2 p.m.

About the Author: Alana MacLeod

Alana MacLeod is a reporter for the Rocky Mountain Outlook. Previously, she worked for Global News Toronto as a news producer and writer. Follow her on Twitter: @Lans_macleod
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