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Vancouver man identified as victim of Callaghan avalanche

Engineer Corey Lynam, 33, leaves behind a wife and young son

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A man who died in an avalanche in the Callaghan area this weekend has been identified as Vancouver's Corey Lynam.

A GoFundMe page has been set up for Lynam's family that has, at press time, raised nearly $46,000 in only two days. He leaves behind a wife and young son.

"Corey will always be a shining example of a great father, husband, and friend. He was a truly remarkable person who inspired all those around him. He was a passionate and talented skier and kiteboarder. He loved adventure and lived life to the fullest. He will be sorely missed by all who were fortunate enough to know him," reads a statement on the page.

Lynam, 33, was with a group of experienced ski tourers on Saturday, March 4 when he dropped down a ridge and set off the slide above Hanging Lake.

"The ski-touring group involved was a party of three and two had skied the slope and were part of the way down when (Lynam) got into it," explained Whistler Search and Rescue manager Brad Sills.

"He made a couple of turns and (the snowline) fractured up at the top behind him. (The slide) ran full-path from the peak all the way down to the lake."Lynam was found by search crews, with the help of an avalanche rescue dog, just before 3:30 p.m., buried in 80 centimetres of snow. His avalanche airbag had been damaged in the slide, Sills said, and his beacon was in "search" mode when he was found.

Speaking with Global News, Tristan Jenkins, a friend who was skiing with Lynam's group, said the engineer didn't take any unnecessary risks on Saturday.

"I feel some people, they hear about these stories, and they immediately jump to a conclusion that the skier or that snowboarder was irresponsible or he wasn't safe," he said."I really don't want that message to be delivered, because you have to honour Corey by understanding who he was — a very calculated, considerate, careful individual. He was an engineer and he pretty much engineered every part of his life in that way."

Jenkins went on to say that the group thought they had made "the right decision" entering the slope in the area they did. "(Lynam) wasn't being reckless, it was just a very tragic, unfortunate accident."A snow dump earlier in the week mixed with scattered rainfall made the conditions in the area challenging.

"Definitely the slopes were loaded and the trigger was set," Sills said.

A skier was rescued Saturday from a separate slide on Hollyburn Mountain near North Vancouver and remains in serious condition.Sills added that it's important for the public to heed the warnings posted by organizations like Avalanche Canada and the Canadian Avalanche Association when in tricky terrain.

"It's certainly a worn-out message: Not only be careful but understand what the... public bulletin means. Read it and dissect what the language means. When they say avalanches will occur, that means precisely that," he said. "Those are the days you might want to consider skiing inside a controlled recreation area. They're not really the best days to be out there touring."

Lynam's death was the third tragedy to hit Whistler in just over a week. On Feb. 24, New Zealand snowboarder Kieran McDonogh was killed in a fall in the Cakehole area of Whistler Mountain. A week later, a 14-year-old student from Abbotsford's MEI Secondary School died on a ski trip to Whistler after becoming separated from his Snow-School group.

Meanwhile, Sills will be recognized Thursday by the province with a Public Service Lifeline Volunteer Award for his years of work with Whistler Search and Rescue.

"Certainly, I'm honoured," said Sills. "I don't like to bask in the limelight because obviously all 2,500 search and rescue volunteers in the province are equally deserving of it."

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