Nearly all of Metro Vancouver's major mountains such as Grouse, Cypress, and Seymour mountains and Whistler Blackcomb opened early this year to the delight of snowboarders and skiers.
However, the B.C Coroners Service, in collaboration with the Canadian Avalanche Centre and Emergency Management B.C., hope to educate more snowboard and ski enthusiasts about the dangers of avalanches and travelling in the backcountry.
In 2010, eight men and one woman died as a result of backcountry avalanches, many of them were snowmobiling or skiing and, according to the Coroners Service, all the deaths were preventable.
While the Ministry of Public Safety admitted that avalanche awareness has improved and more backcountry users are better prepared by carrying essential avalanche safety equipment, many still have not taken sufficient training in how to use the equipment to its greatest effectiveness.
"They need to ensure that they have the proper equipment, that it's in good working condition, that they're trained how to respond in the event of an avalanche," advised Lisa LaPointe, chief coroner of the B.C. Coroners Service.
LaPointe also stressed being prepared in the event of an avalanche.
"Death can happen quickly and there isn't enough time for rescue services to come," she said. "So people need to be prepared to dig out their companions."
Necessary safety equipment when travelling in the backcountry include, transceivers, shovels, proves, and avalanche balloons.
For more information on avalanche courses and necessary equipment, please visit www. avalanche.ca.