Organizers of the Revelstoke stop of the Swatch Freeride World Tour (FWT) say avalanche danger isn’t likely to clear up within the scheduled Mar. 10–15 competition window, forcing them to cancel the Revelstoke stop of the tour.
In a statement released on the evening of Mar. 10, Revelstoke Mountain Resort sales and marketing director Ashley Tait said the ski resort supported the call. “Revelstoke Mountain Resort supports the decision by the Swatch Freeride World Tour by The North Face event organizers to cancel the event. While the in-bound skiing at the resort is excellent, the existing avalanche conditions are wide-spread across the backcountry in western North America. Safety for the athletes and staff involved in the event continue to be a top priority.”
Bryan Barlow is the FWT event director for the Americals. “Our staff and management are committed to doing everything possible to put on world-class freeride competitions. However, this is an example of how tough decisions must be made in favour of athlete and staff safety. Fans, staff and athletes all love the venue at Revelstoke. We look forward to many future competitions here.”
The cancellation comes the same day as an avalanche incident in the Montana Bowl area on Mar. 10. The sidecountry skiing area is located in the Mount Mackenzie backcountry, outside of the Revelstoke Mountain Resort boundary rope.
RMR ski patrollers responded to an incident just after 1 p.m. when a male skier triggered an avalanche in Montana Bowl. He was found at the scene with his airbag deployed.
Patrollers mounted a search of the debris field – radio reports put it at about a category 3 avalanche – but turned up nothing. Rescuers were concerned about two skiers the man had seen skiing below him just prior to the incident. They were located safe not long after, so a probe-line and dog search was called off.
Heavy snowfall last week was followed by warm and wet Pineapple Express weather system over the weekend, causing heightened avalanche danger. For example, the changes sent the locally famous Greenslide avalanche on Mt. Cartier into a full path slide, which isn’t a common occurrence.
The cancellation of the tour stop follows the postponement of the originally-scheduled stop here in late December, when conditions also forced its cancellation. That time, the culprit was lack of adequate snow cover on the venue.