Fernie Search and Rescue are advising people to have the proper gear if they are heading into the backcountry.
This after rescue crews responded to several incidents over the past few weeks, including an avalanche triggered by 11 skiers Thursday.
Manager Rob Lanthier says the proper equipment and training could mean the difference between life and death if a disaster happens.
“Have a trip plan, let somebody know where you are going and why and when you are expected to return,” Lanthier says. “Know the conditions before you go out there, go with a little more preperation in terms of the right kind of clothing for the weather and much better preparedness in terms of avalanche response gear.”
Lanthier says skiers and snowboarders simply aren’t ready for the freezing temperatures if an emergency happened
“Even something as simple as a mechanical issue with your binding and you are three to five kilometres away from any kind of a trail head,” Lanthier says. “If you have people that are prepared with a backup repair kit or some ability to get the team out, you stand a far better chance of the incident not ever becoming a call-out.”
Lanthier says its important to have full winter gear for freezing temperatures if you get stranded overnight.
He advises anyone caught in a dangerous situation to call 911 and say its a backcountry emergency.
Fernie SAR says anyone heading into the backcountry to take a few steps to increase safety.
– Have you left a trip plan with someone that includes your expected return time?
– Do you have a map or navigation device to aid in route finding?
– When recreating in the many alpine bowls and slopes in and around Fernie, are you and your companions prepared in the event something goes wrong?
– When travelling in avalanche terrain, do you have the gear (shovel, probe, transceiver at a minimum) and know how to use it?
– Have you taken into account the current and expected weather conditions?
– What will you use if you need to spend the night outdoors?
(Photo from Fernie Search and Rescue / Facebook)
– Fernie Search and Rescue Manager, Rob Lanthier