British Columbia's avalanche risk high

March 28, 2005 at 12:01 PM

REVELSTOKE, British Columbia, March 28 (UPI) -- Backcountry skiers, hikers and snowmobilers in British Columbia have been warned of extremely high risks of avalanches.

"We've already had lots of reports of people triggering avalanches," Alan Jones, an avalanche forecaster with the Canadian Avalanche Center in Revelstoke, told the Vancouver Sun. "Fortunately we haven't had any reports of people getting caught or buried, at least not seriously."

Up to 20 inches of fresh snow were dumped during the weekend over much of the province's mountain ranges, from Whistler to the Kootenays.

Jones said that much snowfall combined with milder spring temperatures "is something to be concerned about" as the two conditions form the perfect recipe for the snow slab foundations that can lead to avalanches.

Most slides are triggered by human activity, Jones said.

On average, 15 people die every year as a result of being caught in an avalanche in Canada, with the majority of those occurring in British Columbia.

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