Detailed Accident Report

Back to accidents page

Date: 2008-01-16
Submitted By: WWAN
Place: Canyon Creek
State: BC
Country: CANADA
Fatalities: 1
Summary: 2 skiers caught and buried, one killed


Please visit:

Veteran skier dies in B.C. avalanche

Friends tried to revive buried man

John Korobanik, Canwest News Service

Published: Friday, January 18, 2008

The latest person killed in an avalanche in Western Canada was a veteran hang-glider who "just wanted to make the world a better place."

But friends said Peter Bowle-Evans, 61, of Golden wasn't the kind of man to take unnecessary risks.

The former president of the Hang Gliding and Paragliding Association of B.C. became the country's latest avalanche fatality Wednesday when he and a second skier were caught in a backcountry slide near the Kicking Horse ski resort, about 145 kilometres west of Banff.

RCMP Cpl. Barry Kennedy said the second man, Hugh Southee, 26, of Fernie, B.C., survived when the third member of the group, Kyle Chartrand, 29, of Canmore, rescued him.

The two then found and dug out Bowle-Evans and performed CPR for about 30 minutes, but were unable to revive him.

Southee and Chartrand walked about nine hours back to the resort, where RCMP and search and rescue officials were informed.

Bowle-Evans' body was brought out Thursday.

The accident occurred in a valley called Canyon Creek accessed by skiers and snowboarders off the top mountain ridge of the Kicking Horse resort.

"He skied the backcountry almost every single day," Bowle-Evans' wife, Brenda, said. "He was like a hero to the younger skiers, a 61-year-old skiing with 26-year-olds."

The Canadian Avalanche Centre had rated the avalanche risk as "considerable" for alpine areas and said skier-triggered avalanches were "probable."

Bowle-Evans' son, 27-year-old Morgan, who had skied the backcountry with his dad, said the avalanche slab was about 50 centimetres thick, 200 metres wide and slid more than 400 metres.

He said Southee told him his dad was first down the slope, about 5.5 kilometres outside the ski resort, because he hadn't hiked as far up the mountain side.

"I think he was a little tired," said Morgan. "Dad made about 12 turns and then was out of sight. They thought he was gone and waited a bit. Then the next guy (Southee) went. He made about two turns and the whole thing came down."

The last avalanche fatality in the area was in January 2006, when a snowboarder died in a permanently closed area inside the Kicking Horse boundary.

Bowle-Evans was described him as a person unlikely to take any unnecessary risks.

"I can't say I ever saw him angry or speak poorly of anyone," said Stewart Midwinter, who knew Bowle-Evans through the hang-gliding association. "He just wanted to make the world a better place."

Bowle-Evans, a civil engineering technician, is the 11th person to be killed in an avalanche in Western Canada this winter.

"The worst is yet to come in terms of the months with the highest average number of avalanche accidents and that's January, February and March," said John Kelly of the Canadian Avalanche Centre.

? The Calgary Herald 2008