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1 dead, 4 hurt in Kootenay avalanches

A 32-year-old Anchorage woman has died in an avalanche near Ymir, one of two slides that caught back country skiers in West Kootenay in the last few days.

RCMP say at about 9 a.m. this morning, the woman was back country skiing with a group of three near Qua Peak. They were described as experienced back country skiers, had avalanche training and were properly equipped. This was their last day of skiing after being in the area for about a week.

While descending a slope the snow broke way, causing a large avalanche and trapping all three within the avalanche, Sgt. Monty Taylor said in a news release.

All three were able to deploy their inflatable avalanche bags. After the avalanche two of the skiers located each other and searched for their friend. Using their beacons they located her within minutes, half buried and unresponsive. They radioed for help and the woman was taken by helicopter to Nelson where she was pronounced dead.

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The victim’s family has been advise, but her name has not been released.

RCMP are continuing to assist the BC Coroner Service.

Meanwhile, four American skiers were injured in an avalanche near Rossland, according to the Trail Times.

The slide occurred Thursday afternoon on Mount Mackie and resulted in broken bones to the skiers, the newspaper reported.

The group was skiing with Big Red Cats. The company was able to rescue them without calling in search and rescue.

The skiers were taken by ambulance to hospital in Trail and some were then flown to Spokane.

The wife of one of the victims said in a Facebook post that her husband is in stable condition in the intensive care unit at Sacred Heart Medical Centre.

She said seven people were buried by the avalanche in all.

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