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Group of five skiers survives avalanche in Whistler backcountry

'Miraculously no injuries and only one ski pole lost,' says Whistler Search and Rescue
A skier-triggered, size-2 avalanche on the west face of Mount Pattison occurred on Thursday, May 19.

A group of five skiers is likely counting their lucky stars after surviving an avalanche on Mount Pattison in Whistler's backcountry on Thursday, May 19.

A report posted to Avalanche Canada's website by Whistler Search and Rescue (WSAR) said the skier-triggered, size-2 avalanche occurred at about 7 p.m. while the group was ascending the west face of Mount Pattison in the Spearhead Traverse.

"All five group members were caught in the avalanche and were partially buried. Four were able to self-extricate and one needed to be excavated out (buried up to their neck)," the report read, in part. "Miraculously no injuries and only one ski pole lost."

The avalanche occurred the day after more than 20 centimetres of fresh snow fell in Whistler's alpine—coincidentally the same day the Whistler Mountain Bike Park opened for the season.

It's been an eventful, and at times tragic, season on the slopes around Whistler, both in the backcountry and in-bounds at Whistler Blackcomb.

While the fresh snow in the backcountry may be tempting this May long weekend, WSAR is urging caution.

"Please use caution this weekend as avalanche hazard is expected to remain elevated and far from typical for this time of year," reads the WSAR post.





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