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.
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.
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.