KANANASKIS – A backcountry skier was killed near Roberston Glacier in Kananaskis Country on Monday (Oct. 19).
According to Kananaskis Public Safety (KPS), the incident occurred around 2:30 p.m. due to the low early season snow coverage and related hazards in very low angle ski terrain wherein the man’s skis bottomed out.
“He pitched forward into a rocky area, suffering severe trauma,” according to a KPS Facebook post, which noted the man was not wearing a helmet. “This was not an avalanche incident.”
Kananaskis Public Safety and Alpine Helicopters responded to the incident.
According to KPS, 10-30 cm of snow currently exists at treeline and this does not cover the rocks or any of the ground debris.
“If you do fall in these areas you will likely get hurt,” they said. “The chance of hitting something and getting injured is quite high.”
Days are getting shorter, so KPS cautions to be aware that darkness is setting in and any evacuation is more complicated once it’s dark.
Out in the field on Monday, forecasters witnessed many loose, dry avalanches coming off steep terrain, though they did not run far.
“Alpine terrain was getting affected by winds, so we suspect slab development to be ongoing in these areas,” stated the Facebook post.
“Consequences of being caught in even a small slide would result in injury due to the lack of snow and the chance of a ride over rocky terrain.”