Revelstoke is a mecca for snowmobiling. (Photo from Revelstoke Snowmobiling Club)

Program aims to reduce search and rescue calls in Revelstoke for snowmobilers

The area has the most calls for the sport in the province

A national program that advocates for safe travel in the backcountry is focusing on raising awareness in Revelstoke this winter.

While people come from around the world to visit the snowmobile mecca of Revelstoke, the area also has the highest rate of search and rescue for the sport.

In 2018, an economic impact study found there were more than 35,000 snowmobiling trips taken in Revelstoke, which is roughly 14 per cent of total trips taken in B.C.

READ MORE: Snowmobiling injects $30M yearly into Revelstoke economy: study

READ MORE: Community mourns Revelstoke snowmobiler death

Snowmobiling has the highest percentage of search and rescue calls at approximately 30 per cent of total calls. Most of the calls are in the East Kootenays, including Revelstoke, according to BC AdventureSmart. In 2019, there were roughly 80 calls for search and rescue in Revelstoke. The local rescue team is one of the busiest in B.C.

Although it’s only early winter, Revelstoke Search and Rescue (SAR) has already responded to calls of overdue sledders this season on Boulder Mountain.

However, Operations Manager Giles Shearing said the number of calls has dropped since the start of the pandemic.

“People are dialing back the risk in their outdoor pursuits,” he said.

In an effort to further lower the number of calls, BC AdventureSmart has placed one of its outreach crews in Revelstoke this winter, hoping to educate people on how to navigate the backcountry safely.

Executive Director Sandra Riches said some of the reasons for the high volume of search and rescue calls are due to snowmobilers becoming lost, injured and individuals going on trips that exceed their riding abilities.

While Revelstoke is well suited for snowmobiling with its varied landscape, Riches said part of the problem is how easily accessible terrain can be, which can give riders a false sense of security. As a result, they might not plan as much as needed for trips.

READ MORE: Revelstoke Snowmobile Club adapting to COVID-19 restrictions

One of the tools offered by BC AdventureSmart is a trip planning app that enables users to quickly and easily create a detailed trip plan and send it to family and friends, which can be helpful to rescue teams in cases of emergency and reduce search time.

BC AdventureSmart is also collaborating with the Revelstoke Snowmobiling Club to help educate riders on how to ride safely and what equipment to bring. The organization will also have a booth at Revelstoke Mountain Resort as skiers and snowboarders are the second most common users of search and rescue resources.

For more information, check out BC AdventureSmart’s website.

Search and RescueSnow

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

Just Posted

Guy Barber in front of his jewellery store at 208 Mackenzie Avenue, circa 1915. (Revelstoke Museum and Archives photo 272)
Glimspes of Revelstoke’s past for April 8

Local history as recorded by the newspaper of the time

Downtown Revelstoke. (Liam Harrap/Revelstoke Review)
LETTER: Finding Common Ground Through COVID-19

‘How do you eat an elephant? One bite at a time.’

Alchemy Studio received a ticked from the RCMP on Thursday, April 8, for staying open despite provincial restrictions ordering yoga studios be closed to prevent the spread of COVID-19. (Contributed)
Revelstoke yoga class fined for defying COVID-19 orders

The RCMP were called to the Alchemy Studio on April 8

The Royal’s 1959 visit to Revelstoke. (Photo by Revelstoke Museum and Archives #17)
PHOTOS: Prince Philip visited Revelstoke – twice

The prince died April 9 at the age of 99

B.C's COVID-19 dashboard shows the peaks and valleys of cases prior to the record daily report of 132 on April 9, 2021. (Dashboard image)
Interior Health has record day of COVID-19 cases

132 cases reported Friday, April 9, more deaths in Vernon hospital outbreak

B.C. Health Minister Adrian Dix and Premier John Horgan describe vaccine rollout at the legislature, March 29, 2021. (B.C. government)
1,262 more COVID-19 infections in B.C. Friday, 9,574 active cases

Province’s mass vaccination reaches one million people

A second case of COVID-19 has been confirmed at Vernon’s BX Elementary School. (Kerry Hutter photo)
Second COVID case confirmed at Okanagan elementary school

Exposure at Vernon’s BX Elementary happened April 6 and 7

People walk past the Olympic rings in Whistler, B.C., Friday, May 15, 2020. Whistler which is a travel destination for tourists around the world is seeing the effects of travel bans due to COVID-19. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Jonathan Hayward
Adults living, working in Whistler, B.C., eligible for COVID-19 vaccine on Monday

The move comes as the province deals with a rush of COVID-19 and variant cases in the community

Join Black Press Media and Do Some Good
Join Black Press Media and Do Some Good

Pay it Forward program supports local businesses in their community giving

RCMP crest. (Black Press Media files)
UPDATE: RCMP investigating after child, 6, dies at motel in Duncan, B.C.

The BC Coroners Service is conducting its own investigation into the circumstances around the child’s death

Highway 97 being converted to four lanes in April 1990. This photo taken in Lake Country. (Greater Vernon Museum and Archives Photo #14025)
HISTORY: How the old Highway 97 in Lake Country got new name

Pelmewash Parkway recognizes the First Nations history in Lake Country

RCMP display some of the fish seized from three suspects who pleaded guilty to violating the Fisheries Act in 2019, in this undated handout photo. THE CANADIAN PRESS/HO - RCMP
3 banned from fishing, holding licences after overfishing violations near Vancouver Island

Mounties seized the group’s 30-foot fishing vessel and all equipment on board at the time

Flight with COVID
Another Kelowna flight with COVID-19 exposure

Westjet flight on April 5 from Kelowna to Edmonton

Most Read