Owen Johnston

Snowmobilers donate $10,000 to avalanche centre on Avalanche Awareness Day

The Revelstoke Snowmobile Club and the Snowmobile Revelstoke Society each donated $5,000 to the Canadian Avalanche Centre as part of Avalanche Awareness Days at the new Boulder Mountain cabin on Saturday.

The money was donated in memory of Shay Snortland and Curtis Reynolds, who were victims of last March’s Boulder Mountain avalanche; and Kelly Reitenbach, who died in a slide near Eagles Pass a week later.

“Our hope is we would like to promote snowmobile avalanche awareness with the Canadian Avalanche Centre with the hopes this doesn’t happen again in the future,” said Kathy Burke of the snowmobile club.

John Kelly, the operations manager of the Canadian Avalanche Centre, said that snowmobile clubs were becoming the largest donors to the centre.

“The local clubs have been part of the solution since day one and they’re continuing to be part of the solution,” he said.

Outside the cabin, snowmobilers were taking part in a variety of activities designed to increase avalanche education.

One group from Lloydminster, Sask., who were taking part in a lesson on reading snow pits, said they were more conscious of avalanche risks – though none had taken an avalanche safety course yet.

At the next station, on shovelling techniques, Allan Rumpf, from Battleford, Sask., said he took a short avalanche course.

“We usually don’t come when the rating is high,” he said. “When we heard about the opportunity we decided to take a look.”

The other stations dealt with probing and beacon searches.

Avalanche safety and education has been a priority amongst snowmobilers after several deadly incidents in British Columbia the past two winters.

Kelly said Boulder Mountain is a great spot for snowmobilers, as long as they pay attention to avalanche risks. “This is the perfect spot for people to come and this is the spot where they’re going to be safest.”