Natural Resources

Avalanches

Date: January 19, 2006

Location: Smokey Mountain, Labrador City, Labrador

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Fatalities: 0

Injuries: 0

Source: CBC radio interview, 53 North magazine

17 year-old Andrew Milley was snow-mobiling close to his home in Labrador City when he was trapped in an avalanche, burying him almost completely.

70 centimetres of snow had fallen between January 14-16, and a further 27 centimetres fell on January 18. Temperatures between January 15-17 ranged from a high of -13 to a low of -31. The total snowpack on the 19th was at least 160 cm.

Milley was riding with friends on Smokey Mountain, a downhill ski area close to Labrador City. They were in a part of the ski area is no longer used. Milley was "high-marking" on a steep slope, and had turned to go down after reaching a high point when looking over his shoulder he saw that he had triggered an avalanche. He tried to out-run it but failed and was caught up in it. He was pulled off his snow-mobile, and buried. He was able to kee an airway to the surface open, and when the avalanche came to rest had one arm sticking up above the snow. His pack, containing a shovel, was ripped off his back, and his companions retrieved this and were able to free him in less than five minutes.

In the radio interview Andrew mentioned that he'd been involved in an avalanche in the Stephenville area a few years before, but was surprised to find that western Labrador had avalanche problems. The interviewer mentioned that "several decades ago" there had been an avalanche on Smokey Mountain that had trapped skiers.

 
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