Four men rescued from Vancouver-area mountain
NORTH VANCOUVER, B.C. - Despite high-profile avalanche deaths this week in Fernie and Whistler, as well as renewed avalanche warnings throughout much of B.C., some thrill-seekers don't appear to be getting the message.
Three skiers and a snowboarder who ducked under a boundary rope and entered a dangerous, avalanche-prone spot on a Vancouver-area mountain have been safely rescued.
Rescue crews were unable to go in after them, so the four men were guided to safety by a helicopter 45 minutes after they entered the area on Grouse Mountain.
Grouse spokesman William Mbaho said the group was specifically warned not to go into the hazardous area by a ski patrol member.
But Mbaho said as soon as that patroller left, the four males, in their late teens to early 20's, entered the area.
"They didn't just ignore or disobey the instructions of the patroller, they also violated the signage and the boundary markers," he said.
"They were putting their own lives at risk and subsequently the lives and safety of the people who had to go and rescue them."
Mbaho said the group will be banned for life from the mountain and their names will be circulated to all ski resorts in Western Canada.
The four will also be billed for the full cost of the search.
"This kind of incident cannot be tolerated. Transgressions of this kind must be dealt with in a way that sends a clear message to others who think of doing this kind of thing in the future that it won't be tolerated," Mbaho said.
The men, who Mbaho described as unco-operative and lacking emotion, refused to give their names to mountain officials.
"At this point, we've now left it in the hands of the RCMP to interview them," he said.
Mbaho said mountain officials are frustrated that recent events haven't convinced all skiers and snowboarders to tread carefully.
"People have to respect boundaries. Closed areas are marked so for a reason," he said.
Earlier this week, two men were killed in separate avalanches at Whistler, B.C after they ventured out of bounds.
On Sunday, eight snowmobilers were killed near Fernie by a series of avalanches in the backcountry.