Kootenay Pass avalanche kills 1, seriously injures another

A man was killed and a woman was seriously injured after being caught in an avalanche in a popular backcountry ski area in the Kootenay Pass area on Sunday.

The two skiers, both 27 years old, were with two others from the Nelson, B.C., area, skiing in the Lightning Strike backcountry area when the avalanche struck at around 1 p.m. PT.

Search and Rescue crews said Sunday afternoon that the weather was too poor to fly a helicopters into the high mountain area near Stagleap Provincial Park, off B.C.'s Highway 3 between Salmo and Creston.

A team of about 26 search and rescue members attempted a ski-in rescue instead Sunday night.

Crews managed to reach the pair, who had been dragged over boulders and trees, between 10 p.m. and 10:30 p.m. PT.

The woman was pulled out immediately. She had serious injuries and was taken to Trail Regional Hospital.

The body of the man was left on site and was to be recovered on Monday morning.

The Revelstoke-based Canadian Avalanche Centre issued a special avalanche warning this weekend, saying that there is significant potential for large, destructive avalanches in most B.C. mountain regions.

Recent heavy snow is sitting on a layer of weak snow, making for extremely dangerous conditions and no one should go into the backcountry without avalanche survival gear, the avalanche centre said.