2003 Connaught Creek Valley avalanche
The 2003 Connaught Creek Valley avalanche on Saturday 1 February 2003 killed seven teenagers in the Columbia Mountains at the foot of Mount Cheops east of Revelstoke, following another avalanche which had killed seven adult skiers on 20 January 2003 on the Durrand Glacier, located in the same area and caused by a rain crust formed at the same time.
The 14 scholars and their three adult group leaders, two of whom were experienced skiers and trained in avalanche education, were from Strathcona-Tweedsmuir School near Okotoks. They were on the annual 10th grade class backcountry skiing trip, a four-day trip and a 27-year-old tradition of the school's outdoor education program. The group were hiking along the Balu Pass Trail in the Connaught Creek Valley in British Columbia's Glacier National Park, some 5 km west of the Rogers Pass summit, scene of the 1910 avalanche disaster. At 11:45 a.m. two mountain guides, who happened to be in the same area, heard a crack signalling the avalanche's start and shouted warnings to the school group below, who were swept away moments later. The guides raced down to the site, freeing those whose hands and legs were showing above the snow, and searching for those buried deeper using the avalanche transceivers which the scholars were all carrying. A satellite phone call alerted rescuers five minutes later. Some 35 rescuers with helicopters soon reached the scene, and within 80 minutes of the avalanche the 10 survivors and 7 fatalities had been located.
Once the shock had abated the school reviewed and revised its outdoor education program, and decided to carry on with the backcountry ski program subject to rigorous safety measures. Under a new risk classification system the Connaught Creek area was rated as a Class 3 region, unsuitable for school groups, and therefore off-limits.
- "Seven Teenage Skiers Are Killed In British Columbia Avalanche". Agence France-Presse. 3 February 2003. Retrieved 20 January 2017 – via The New York Times.
- "Sports Illustrated". Retrieved 20 January 2017.
- "Avalanche". Retrieved 20 January 2017.