Two small avalanches occurred just before SilverStar Mountain Resort was set to launch its inaugural Seismic Mountain Festival. Officials say everything is still a go for the event. (Morning Star file photo)

UPDATE: Avalanche consultants deployed to SilverStar

Two small slides occurred at SilverStar Mountain Resort Wednesday, one of which sent one to hospital

UPDATE: 1:39 p.m.

SilverStar Mountain Resort has retained independent avalanche consultants to assist in the investigation of the isothermal avalanche that took place on a double black diamond run in Putnam Creek, (also known as the Backside) on Wednesday afternoon, March 20.

Putnam Creek is presently closed. SilverStar has also closed some south/southwest facing terrain east of the gondola including the Alpine Meadows Chair.

The avalanche consultants, along with the SilverStar Patrol team, will be conducting a thorough investigation of Wednesday’s incident, as well as assessing Resort-wide snow conditions. The re-opening of any terrain will be subject to the results of this investigation.

“As always, the safety of our guests and staff remains our highest concern,” said Chantelle Deacon, communications and sponsorship manager.

“Due to privacy concerns and respecting the family of the guest injured in the avalanche, SilverStar will not be releasing any further information regarding the guest.”

The Comet Express, Des Schumann Summit Express Gondola, Silver Queen, Silverwoods Express, The Zone Carpet, Adventure Center carpet, Tube Town Carpet remain open – a total of seven of 10 lifts open with access to 46 runs of skiing and riding.

Original

Shortly after one avalanche on the backside of SilverStar sent one man to the hospital, a second small slide occurred on the under the gondola.

Chantelle Deacon, communications and sponsorship manager, said the second slide occurred on a black diamond run below the gondola on the frontside of the mountain. No one was impacted by the second incident, and the frontside reopened Thursday morning.

Read more: Avalanche at SilverStar sends one to hospital

BC Air Ambulance airlifted a man to Kelowna General Hospital after the initial isothermal avalanche on a double black diamond run on SilverStar’s Putnam Creek just after 12 p.m. Wednesday.

“We don’t know how severe the injuries are,” said Deacon. “All we know is that he was injured and taken by BC Air Ambulance.”

An isothermal avalanche means that all layers of the snowpack are at the same temperature, typically the freezing point, according to avalanche.org.

“We’ve never had this kind of avalanche happen at SilverStar before,” Deacon said. “As of right now, it is still under investigation.”

SilverStar’s backside, Putnam Creek has been closed to deal with the incident and will be closed until further notice. Deacon said the resort has also closed some south/southwest facing terrain east of the gondola including the Alpine Meadows Chair.

“As always, the safety of our guests and staff remains our highest concern,” said Deacon.”Due to privacy concerns and respecting the family of the guest injured in the avalanche, SilverStar will not be releasing any further information regarding the guest.”

The two small avalanches occurred the week leading up to SilverStar’s inaugural Seismic Mountain Festival March 22-31.

“Everything is still a go for the festival and we’re super excited,” Deacon said.

Reads more: SilverStar’s new festival a ‘culinary paradise’

Temperatures are expected to cool over the weekend and reduce the risk of further avalanches, Deacon said. According to Environment Canada, Saturday will see a high of 10 C during the day and 4 C at night, followed by similar conditions until Wednesday.

The Resort has retained independent avalanche consultants.



parker.crook@vernonmorningstar.com

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