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October 28, 2017 12:28 am

Renshaw Avalanche Area Re-opened to Public

Sunday, January 31, 2016 @ 2:55 PM

Prince George, B.C. – The BC Corners Service has given permission for the re-opening of the Renshaw area near McBride following an investigation of the avalanche which killed five Alberta snowmobilers on Friday.  But there is also a very stern word of caution which should be heeded.

The Coroners Service says an avalanche technician it had retained examined the area on Saturday in an effort to determine the cause of the avalanche.  With that portion of the investigation concluded the Coroners Service says there is no reason to keep the area closed to the public.

However, it has issued a very clear advisory that anyone thinking of venturing into that area, or any other back country location in B.C., is strongly urged to check the Avalanche Canada website, www.avalanche.ca to find out what the avalanche risk is before heading out.

Further it advises that everyone heading into the back country should have avalanche training provided through Avalanche Canada and should have all relevant safety equipment with them.

The five victims, aged 41, 47, 49, 52 and 55, were among 17 snowmobilers in four separate groups who were caught in the large avalanche, 20 kilometres east of McBride, around 1:30 Friday afternoon.

The Coroners Service had ordered the Renshaw area closed to all but emergency personnel in the wake of the tragedy.


It could happen to any one at any time. No different than someone that hits black ice on the highway resulting in a fatality, or a flash flood in the summer months. Nature can be fickle and doesn’t discriminate; its often just a matter of bad timing.

This year being a low snow pack with warmer weather packing the snow it shouldn’t have been as big a risk as it turned out to be.

Canada was founded by those that adventure into the wilderness for its beauty and freedom. Its in our blood and is as much a part of Canada as hockey and the maple leaf; so all one can do is try to be prepared and cautious and hope that the casino of life doesn’t come calling when you least expect it….

The Renfrew area?

Hockey rinks have a major amount of safety concerns planned and prepared. What we are talking about is snowmobiles with very powerfully engines with super long tracks with deep paddles that people like to push the trill seek part of their adventure. For the amount of people the sled per population seems to be a very high accident rate, I would say this why most folks enjoy the sport and fun excitement and thrill of pushing the edge of danger. No more than some folks love to push there motorbikes up to 180+

Even members of the search and rescue were out snowmobiling that day and didn’t feel it was excessively dangerous. Always sad to hear of tragedy but everyone knew what to do and had people dug out, just couldn’t resuscitate some. They did everything as right as could be done, wouldn’t wish that scene on my worst enemy. Been out to Barkerville and a have seen a few high markers set off small slides but nothing big enough to swallow 17 machines up, never mind their own machines. Tragic

Renshaw Dumbfounded, typo. Wrong in the first paragraph but right in the last

There is enough money being made by all of the parties that make this happen , to afford an avalanche coordinator, risk mapping and rule management . A little engineering is also lacking in the way of cockpit/rollcage/drogue system for some crazy high marking . I say do it but do it right .

There were 36 snowmobile deaths in BC between 1996 and 2014. In addition there were 29 skiing deaths.

So what we have here is a serious problem. Most people were from BC and Alberta, with about 96% being males.

Wow, thanks slinky.
How many deaths via the automobile and aircraft Palopu? I’d think multiple thousands in your stated time frame. That there is a serious problem.

Mother Nature can’t be tamed. Most outdoor activities have risks..

Dumbfounded, how many automobile deaths out of all automobile operators? How many snowmobile deaths out to the number of riders?

HG, so what you mean is although multiple thousands of people have died in automobile crashes, because of a difference in riders to driver numbers, their lives mean less than the sledders?

Not at all Dumbfounded! I think that you are being a bit absurd to even suggest that I might mean that one life is less important that another!

Statistically I would suggest that back country sledding is a bit more dangerous and a higher risk activity than driving down the street or highway in a motor vehicle!

Every winter we seem to lose back country sledders to avalanches. I would like to know what we could do to reduce the numbers! Wouldn’t you?

Good grief people. S*it happens no matter what we do. Let’s just put some more control mechanisms on people who come out and enjoy life. Before long we will all be on the couch scared to go out on the front walk for the fear of slipping and falling and have a study done. This is a free country and that includes going out and facing the dangers and getting a good adreline Rush. It’s a sport very popular and keeps many rural community’s with revenue in slow economic times. More regulalation will not solve the problem.

Its just sad that it happened. Doesn’t matter that the sled is powerful with long tracks and deep paddles. Look at heli skiers, they are getting caught in avy’s as well. Its just real active this year

I’m curious if any of them were utilizing Avalanche airbags and if it made a difference. I’ve watched video of people caught in avalanches and they do seem to keep you on top of the snow and some protection against trauma. There were 12 others also caught in the avalanche but not buried according to CBC.

good point happy13. Frankly, between riding a motorcycle in town, or back country skiing, I’d say back country is much safer.

palopu, 36 deaths in 18 years? (avg 2 per year). the horror! shit happens. we are all going to die. we all try to weigh the risks and hazards in everything we do. my dad used to be just apoplectic about my mountain sledding, but i told him that the odds are way greater me getting smacked by a bus on my way to work riding my bike. rather die living than from a stroke at the keyboard of my computer from eating and smoking in moms basement. it’s life. hell, more people die from bathtub injuries every year.

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