“You have about 15 minutes to live”

Most of BC’s avalanche deaths occur in the B.C. Interior

“You have about 15 minutes to live.”

That is if you are buried by an avalanche, according to Princeton Ground Search and Rescue leader Randy Rorvik.

“Avalanche is a big consideration for our response,” said Rorvik, in an interview with The Spotlight following numerous road closures in the area due to heavy snow and avalanche warnings over last weekend.

Highways 3 and 5A, as well as Coalmont Road, were closed Friday and reopened at different times the following morning.

However Rorvik said danger still exists for outdoor enthusiasts who might be hiking, skiing or snowmobiling in the back country.

“Any cutback on a forest service road or a trail has the potential to slide, in my opinion,” he said.

Rorvik urged sportsmen and women to take proper precautions when outdoors, pack essential survival gear and to carry avalanche beacons that can be used by members of a party to locate a fellow traveller under the snow.

Along with specially constructed snow probes and shovels, they could be the difference between life and death.

“That’s pretty standard. Any snowmobiler should have them nowadays. There are lots of real stories of how they have saved lives.”

Rorvik said it is also possible to purchase air bags that are designed to help someone survive an avalanche.

RELATED: Avalanche danger climbs to high for Okanagan

The ground search and rescue squad keeps a close eye on avalanche conditions, he said, as there are strict protocols to follow if the crew is called out when they exist.

Avalanches kill an average of 10 people a year in this province, according to a 2015 BC Coroner’s report.

Almost 70 per cent of those fatalities occur in the Interior and most of the victims are either snowmobilers or skiers.

Ninety percent of people killed by avalanches are men, and the average age of those victims is 39.9 years.

To report a typo, email:


Like us on Facebook.


Just Posted

School District No. 74 anti-racism posters spark controversy

A poster challenging white privilege has drawn the most attention, pro and con.

Parents’ reactions to School District No. 74 anti-racism posters

‘Until I educate myself I am on the fence’ is one response.

TNRD grant for Ashcroft HUB means substantial energy savings

New doors, windows, and lighting will make the HUB building viable for years to come.

Community Connect Expo to help with fire stress and trauma recovery

Full day event will feature a variety of workshops, organizations, and more to provide information.

Health Care Auxiliary lends a helping hand to Better at Home

Donation will help provide services to area seniors so they can stay in their homes and communities.

VIDEO: B.C. Mounties reunite veteran with lost military medals

RCMP say Zora Singh Tatla, who served in the army in India for 28 years, is the righful owner

How to keep local news visible in your Facebook feed

Facebook has changed the news feed to emphasize personal connections. You might see less news.

Northwest B.C. pellet plant to provide energy to Asia

Pinnalce Renewable Holdings and West Fraser Timber approve construction of plant in Smithers.

4 facts to ring in St. Patrick’s Day

What do you really know about the Irish celebration?

Experts urging caution as rabbits die by the hundreds in B.C. city

Province of B.C. confirms more positive tests for rabbit haemorrhagic disease

Federal government seeks public feedback on pedestrian safety

What safety measures do you think need to improved for pedestrians and cyclists?

Search continues for 10-year-old Montreal boy missing since Monday

Montreal police said they are exploring every possibility in search for Ariel Jeffrey Kouakou

Airline passenger-rights bill claws back protections for travellers: Advocate

Bill C-49 would double tarmac delays, scrap compensation for flights affected by mechanical failures

Canadian research vessel to explore 19th Century shipwrecks

Commissioned this week in Victoria, the RV David Thompson is Parks Canada’s newest vessel

Most Read