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Snowmobiler killed in avalanche in southwestern Alberta

A search and rescue helicopter heads toward an avalanche site in this 2010 photo near Revelstoke, B.C., which is northwest of Castle Mountain Ski Resort where a snowmobiler was killed over the weekend.  (Jeff McIntosh/The Canadian Press - image credit)
A search and rescue helicopter heads toward an avalanche site in this 2010 photo near Revelstoke, B.C., which is northwest of Castle Mountain Ski Resort where a snowmobiler was killed over the weekend. (Jeff McIntosh/The Canadian Press - image credit)

An Alberta man has died after being buried by an avalanche while snowmobiling in the backcountry near Castle Mountain ski resort in the Alberta Rockies close to the B.C. border, RCMP say.

The man, whom RCMP have identified as a 46-year-old from Magrath, Alta., was snowmobiling with another man and two children on Saturday, when an avalanche occurred at approximately 1 p.m. MT. A spokesperson for Avalanche Canada said the slide was triggered at the head of Gardiner Creek, in the Castle Wildland Provincial Park, roughly 13 kilometres south of Castle Mountain Resort.

In a statement, RCMP said the two children were able to escape with one of the men, but the other was buried in the snow.

Crowsnest Pass and Pincher Creek RCMP received a report of the avalanche later that day at 5:22 p.m. from the man who survived. According to a spokesperson with the Alberta RCMP, crews did not begin a search-and-rescue effort at that time because it was nearing sunset.

A search was instead launched at daylight on Sunday, said the RCMP spokesperson, and included members of the Pincher Creek RCMP, the Southwestern Alberta Regional Search and Rescue, a K9 and handler from Fernie Search and Rescue, and Alberta Conservation.

The body of the missing man was retrieved just before 1.30 p.m. on Sunday.

Last year, a man was left stranded in an out-of-bounds area at Castle Mountain Resort after being caught in an avalanche.