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Memorial Saturday for Whistler ski patroller

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A memorial will be held at Millennium Place on Saturday, April 20 at 7 p.m. to remember Whistler Ski Patroller Neil Falkner, 32, who was killed last Friday in a backcountry skiing accident.

Falkner was with a group of Whistler skiers ski touring around the Wapta Icefields in Banff National Park, Albert at the time of the accident. The visibility was hampered as the group traversed the Balfour High Col, when Falkner fell from a cornice into a rocky area. Members of the party attempted to resuscitate him, but were unsuccessful.

They marked the location of the body, and informed authorities. As storms continued, rescue parties were still unable to retrieve his body as of press time on Wednesday.

Falkner was born in Vancouver, and had lived in Whistler for the past seven years. Five years ago he started to volunteer with the Whistler Mountain Ski Patrol. He was hired as a Level 3 pro patroller three years ago.

He was well liked by his fellow patrollers and will be missed by his many friends in Whistler. On March 26, he was part of the Whistler team that tied for second in the North American Ski Patrol Challenge.

"We all knew him quite well, we worked closely with him," said Whistler patrol veteran and weather watcher Anton Horvath. "We were quite shocked and saddened, all of us."

Said Christopher Nicolson, the public relations and communications manager for Whistler-Blackcomb: "For the patrollers, his friends and his family, we wish to express our condolences."

Friends have already held an impromptu memorial, at Hoz’s last Sunday night, showing slides from the Wapta Icefields trip. The same pictures will be shown at Millennium Place, and on the big screen during the Orage Big Air competition.

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