Ski patrollers on Blackcomb confirmed the worst on Christmas day, after discovering the body of a 20-year-old snowboarder who was reported missing the day before.
The male, who was visiting Whistler from California with his family for the holidays, was reported missing on Dec. 24 at roughly 4 p.m. A search was started immediately by patrollers, but was called off at 6:15 p.m. due to the poor weather conditions and darkness.
The next morning the ski patrol brought in three dog teams to help with the search, focusing on the area surrounding the Crystal Chair where the snowboarder was last seen. Just after 10 a.m. on Christmas Day the male was found deceased in a creek that runs through a treed area. It was inside the ski area boundary, but off the designated run.
The conditions were stormy on Christmas Eve and overnight. The temperature was relatively mild at -4 degrees Celsius, but there were high winds and heavy snowfall. In total, 116 cm of new snow was reported between Dec. 23 and Dec. 25, with 173 cm of total snowfall the week before Christmas.
Whistler Blackcomb's Critical Incident Team is providing support to the family of the deceased, and have expressed their sincere condolences to the family and friends of the deceased.
Skiers and boarders are reminded to always travel with a friend and use caution when leaving the designated runs. Early season conditions are still in effect for large areas of the mountains for a number of reasons, including exposed creeks.