No charges in B.C. avalanche deaths

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By CBC News

RCMP in British Columbia say no criminal charge will be laid against the organizers of a March snowmobile event near Revelstoke, where two people died in an avalanche.


On March 13, a massive avalanche swept down a mountain and buried a group of about 200 snowmobilers who had been attending a loosely organized event called the Big Iron Shootout.


Shay Snortland of Lacombe, Alta. and Kurtis Reynolds of Strathmore, Alta., both 33, were killed. The friends worked together as partners in an oilfield company.


Witnesses said the avalanche was triggered by snowmobilers seeing how far they could drive up the steep mountain slopes in a competition known as highmarking.


Police, however, concluded that highmarking was not part of the Big Iron Shootout, which organizers had limited to a flatter portion of the valley to avoid the high avalanche risk areas.


Once the sanctioned event ended, a large number of people did choose to ignore avalanche warnings and went to a nearby hill known as Turbo Bowl to take part in or watch highmarking, police said in a statement issued on Thursday.


RCMP said there was no evidence to support charges against Big Iron Shootout organizers or others on the mountain that day.


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