Vicitim of Meadow Mountain avalanche identified

RCMP identify man killed in Feb. 3 avalanche north of Kaslo as Ilkka Saarinen of Janakkala, Finland.

The identity of the man killed in the February 3 avalanche on Meadow Mountain north of Kaslo was released by the RCMP.

Ilkka Saarinen, 50, from Janakkala, Finland, died after being swept up in an avalanche while skiing with Selkirk Wilderness Skiing, a cat skiing operation based near the village of Meadow Creek, B.C.

Saarinen was with a group of 10 skiers and two guides when the avalanche occurred at around 11 a.m., according to a press release from Selkirk Wilderness Skiing, the cat-skiing operation who the group was skiing with.

The group was skiing one at a time down the run when the second guest triggered the avalanche, according to SWS. According to the incident report filed with the Canadian Avalanche Centre, Saarinen made a wide turn that triggered a 150 metre wide and 150 cm thick, class three avalanche.

Saarinen was located partially buried and was dug out of the snow by the guides. Attempts to revive him with CPR were stopped after a closer examination revealed head trauma, the incident report stated.

The victim was airlifted to a hospital in Nelson, B.C. No other skiers were caught in the avalanche and they were taken back to the lodge.

According to the incident report, the avalanche was triggered at elevation of 2,430 metres on a northeast facing slope.

A class three avalanche is considered capable of burying and destroying a car.

The RCMP is investigating the incident.

The Canadian Avalanche Centre rated the avalanche danger for the area as considerable in the alpine and moderate at treeline and below treeline.

This was the second avalanche death at a commercial backcountry skiing operation in B.C. this winter. On Dec. 30, 2011, Ronald Gregory Sheardown was killed by an avalanche while heli-skiing with CMH Revelstoke.

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