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Body of Grande Prairie snowmobiler killed in avalanche recovered

The body of a snowmobiler from Grande Prairie killed in an avalanche in B.C. has been recovered. The avalanche happened Saturday in a managed snowmobile riding area south of Valemount called Bowl 3 in the Allen Oasis Recreation Area.

The RCMP says two people were riding on one snowmobile at the time of the remote-triggered avalanche, and the passenger was buried by snow and debris. The driver was able to ride away and later found the other rider unresponsive.

Police were called at 11:20 a.m. Pacific Time Saturday and responded with local search and rescue volunteers. It’s said the snowpack was too dangerous to recover the body at the time, but Corporal Alex Berube tells Vista Radio teams had success Sunday.

“Search and rescue were flown out to the area in an attempt to recover the body, however, the conditions were a little too treacherous to conduct such operations on Saturday so they had to come back yesterday to recover the body.”

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Avalanche Canada posted on social media Saturday evening that it was hearing reports of a serious avalanche accident in the Oasis snowmobiling area. There were further reports of numerous large human-triggered and remotely triggered avalanches in the mountains around the Valemount region.

According to Avalanche Canada, remote-triggered avalanches are avalanches that occur away from the point where they are triggered.

“They happen when a slab fractures the weak layer below it but does not produce an avalanche at the site of the fracture. Instead, the fracture propagates along the weak layer until it reaches a portion of the slab that rests on a slope that is sufficiently steep to avalanche.”

The B.C. Coroners Service will take over the investigation into the death.

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