Saturday, January 3, 2009

Three skiers and a snowboarder have been banned from the Grouse Mountain ski area for life

Three skiers and a snowboarder have been banned for life from B.C.'s Grouse Mountain ski resort after the four ducked a rope at 1 p.m. Friday and entered an avalanche-prone area despite warnings from ski patrol.
According to a release issued Friday by Grouse Mountain Resorts Ltd., the mountain safety patrol made voice contact with the four men around the Heaven's Sake run and instructed them to leave the "extremely hazardous and avalanche-prone area". After those instructions went unheeded, the RCMP (Royal Canadian Mounted Police) were notified along with the North Shore Search and Rescue Team.
Rescuers refused to follow them due to the avalanche danger. Instead, North Shore Search and Rescue guided the group from the area via helicopter 45 minutes later. The four suspects, who were described as uncooperative and emotionless, refused to provide their names to rescuers, but were subsequently interviewed by the RCMP. RCMP later determined that the men are B.C. residents — two aged 24 and two aged 25.
"You'd have to have your head buried over the last couple weeks to not understand that avalanche risk is ubiquitous across our province", said Chris Dagenais, director of communications at Grouse Mountain. "At this particular time, to knowingly to go out of a controlled area like that is putting your own life at risk, it's putting the lives of those who have to come after you at risk as well. It's absurd and an incredibly arrogant thing to do as well".
"The group face lifetime revocation of privileges at Grouse Mountain, and will be billed the full expense of the search and recovery effort", the ski area confirmed. Ski area staffers also indicated that the names of the four will be circulated to all ski areas throughout the province. Grouse Mountain donates all rescue fees collected back to the volunteer-staffed North Shore Search and Rescue.