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Paige Caldwell wrote:

> I heard on the news this morning that Sonny Bono was killed yesterday
> after hitting a tree while skiing at Heavenly.  Combined with
> Michael Kennedy's death last week, the sport of skiing is taking it
> on the chin!

In addition there were 8 fatalities and 1 person missing (presumed dead)
in avalanches in British Columbia on Saturday.  They were 8 skiers and
1 snowmobiler.  That brings the number of backcountry skier deaths in
western Canada to 13 so far this season killed in avalanches.  Plus I
believe another skier rode out an avalanche in the same area this past
weekend.

Swiped from The Toronto Star:

KASLO, B.C. (CP) - The bodies of four back-country skiers killed in an avalanche
were
recovered from B.C.'s Kolanee Glacier provincial park by helicopter yesterday
morning after
bad weather delayed efforts toreach them.

A fifth body remained at the site and a sixth person was missing but presumed
dead.

The snowslide last weekend swept down a mountain bowl and raced into an
hourglass-shaped chute, RCMP Captain Terry Barter said yesterday.

``This was a Class 3 avalanche, a large avalanche,'' said Barter. A Class 3
snowslide carries enough force to damage buildings.

Four of the victims were identified yesterday as George Patrick von Blumen, 32,
and Dr. Robert Driscoll, 35, both of Nelson, B.C., Geoffrey Leidal, 31, of
Pemberton, B.C., and Scott Bradley, 32, of North Vancouver, B.C.

The names of two others were being withheld but news reports identified them as
Lise Nicola and Mary Cowan, both of Nelson.

Driscoll's wife, Dr. Carrie Fitzsimons, 37, did not go skiing Friday and called
for help when the party didn't return.

Constable Jay Arnold said the victims were warned of avalanche danger before
they left for the wilderness cabin near Woodbury Glacier.

The searchers had hoped to fly into the area again later yesterday but low cloud
cover hampered their efforts.

``It's always frustrating when there's a loss of life involved,'' said Barter.
``If the weather was good, we'd have this wrapped up now.''

The victims were all experienced back-country skiers, equipped with emergency
locators designed to help find them in the event of a slide.

Barter said he's not sure why the transceiver worn by the missing victim wasn't
detected.

At a news conference in Kaslo's small, one-room courthouse, police said they
didn't have the power to close the area to back-country skiers because of
avalanche danger.

Along with the Canadian Avalanche Centre, the RCMP can only warn people of
extreme risks, said Barter.

The skiers were among nine people who died in three avalanches that swept
through southeastern British Columbia.

Kevin Alexander Jewitt, 27, and Simon Horton Lewis, 26, of Lemon Creek, B.C.,
were killed when an avalanche hit them after they skied to the bottom of a
mountain bowl near New Denver, about 50 kilometres northwest of Kaslo.

Murray Gray Perrin, 37, of Medicine Hat, Alta., died Friday afternoon when four
snowmobilers were caught in the avalanche.

The weekend death toll, combined with five other avalanche deaths, takes the
season total to 14, one more than last season's count.