A snowboarder who died after falling into a tree well on Blackcomb Mountain has not been identified, but RCMP confirmed on Thursday afternoon that the victim is a 30-year-old man from France who was living in New York City, in Whistler for a vacation. His family in France have been notified and are on their way to Whistler to handle his affairs.
Whistler RCMP was notified that a male snowboarder had been discovered upside down in a tree well at about 11 a.m. on Wednesday, April 4.
"There was a skier skiing down through the trees and he happened to notice a snowboard out of the corner of his eye," said Staff Sergeant Steve LeClair, spokesperson for Whistler RCMP.
"He stopped, looked up and he could see the board sitting on the snow and it didn't look quite right to him, so he hiked up about 10 metres and discovered it was actually a person upside down in the tree well and unresponsive."
LeClair said the passerby tried to get the snowboarder out of the treewell but couldn't. He hiked up the mountain until he met a group of skiers and enlisted their help. Four of them managed to pull the snowboarder free and immediately began CPR until Blackcomb Ski Patrol arrived on the scene with a doctor and a paramedic.
The victim was taken by helicopter from the 7th Heaven run to the municipal heliport and then on to the Whistler Health Care Centre by ambulance. Medical staff continued to try and resuscitate him but the snowboarded didn't survive.
"Tragically, the male did not survive and was pronounced dead," said LeClair. "Whistler RCMP (is) continuing (its) investigation in conjunction with the BC Coroner's Service. Police are attempting to locate and notify the family of the deceased of this tragic incident."
The man's name has not being released at this time, and won't be released without permission from his family.
The deceased snowboarder was riding within the ski area boundary in an area open to the public. The public is reminded that natural hazards such as tree wells, open creeks and other obstacles exist in the ski area and to ski and ride with care.
Additionally, those entering treed runs are encouraged to ski or ride with others. If you are unfamiliar with an area you are also reminded to be extra cautious.