Hundreds of first responders, including members of the Nelson Police Department, lined the highway between Kelowna and Nelson for a procession to pay tribute to Const. Mathieu Nolet.
Const. Nolet, 28, died from injuries Saturday morning at Kelowna General Hospital after being caught in an avalanche January 9 while backcountry skiing near Goat Range Provincial Park, northwest of Kaslo.
Nolet’s fiancée, sister and parents were at his side at the time the NPD Constable succumbed to his injuries.
The procession carrying Const. Nolet started in Kelowna Tuesday before arriving in Nelson mid-afternoon.
Nelson Police officers were joined by local RCMP, Nelson Fire and Rescue Service and Regional District of Central Kootenay Fire members, BC Ambulance as well as members of the public lined the Highway 3A/6 entrance into Nelson, raising their hands as a sign of respect while police cars with flashing lights drove by.
Nolet, skiing at the time of the avalanche with Nelson Police Const. Wade Tittemore, suffered internal injuries and broken bones after being pushed into a tree.
Nolet was transported to Kootenay Lake Hospital by helicopter.
Tittemore, 43, died at the avalanche scene after being dug out from under two meters of snow by other skiers in the area.
Both skiers were experience backcountry skiers, venturing on the trek with avalanche probes and beacons.
Nelson Police Const. Wade Tittemore and Const. Mathieu Nolet. — Submitted photo
Avalanche claims two brothers heli-skiing near Revelstoke
RCMP said Monday afternoon, near Mount McCrae, two brothers from Pennsylvania were killed after being caught in an avalanche.
The brothers from York, PA, were killed while on a guided heli-skiing tour.
RCMP the said the avalanche occurred near the Alkolkolex tenure southeast of Revelstoke near the area known as the “Chocolate Bunnies”.
RCMP said three skiers were caught in the avalanche, with the third skier taken by helicopter to hospital in serious condition.
The deaths are the fourth and fifth to occur this avalanche season.
Saturday, near Valemout, BC, two snowmobilers riding at the base of a slope accidentally trigger an avalanche from above, sending a slab of snow onto one rider while the other escapes.
The buried rider died at the scene.
Avalanche Canada reports dangerous, highly unpredictable conditions
In a BC Government news release, Avalanche Canada said it continues to monitor a deep, persistent slab avalanche problem for many regions.
This is causing very dangerous and highly unpredictable avalanche conditions.
Avalanche Canada continues to encourage people to stay away from steep slopes and terrain, and to check: https://www.avalanche.ca - for avalanche conditions for forecasts.
"This is a highly unusual and unpredictable snowpack. The complication with this snowpack setup is that the layers are deep enough that we are less likely to see clues of instability, like nearby avalanche activity, 'whumpfing' or cracking snow," said Ryan Buhler, forecast supervisor, Avalanche Canada.
"However, despite the lack of obvious clues, there is serious potential for large, human-triggered avalanches. We urge backcountry users to exercise caution and make conservative, low-consequence choices if they decide to travel in avalanche terrain.
"Backcountry users should always check the avalanche forecast at: https://www.avalanche.ca/en/map - carry a transceiver, probe and shovel, and be trained to use them."
Avalanche Canada expects these conditions to last the remainder of the winter season in some areas.
Monday, an avalanche near Cherryville, located east of Vernon, came down on one person. Emergency health services says the person is taken to hospital with undetermined injuries.
Avalanche Canada has said the dangerous conditions this year are similar to those of 2003, when 29 people died in avalanches in Western Canada.
GoFundMe campaign grows for families of NPD officers
A GoFundMe-campaign for the families of the two officers had raised more than $83,000 on Tuesday.
In honour of the death of the Const. Nolet, flags in the Heritage City were lowered to half-mast.
The City of Nelson, Mayor & Council, the Nelson Police Department and the Nelson Police Board wish to thank everyone who has written to express their sympathies.
Condolences from the public for both of the Constable’s families can be sent to firstname.lastname@example.org.
Nelson Police Department officers, staff and families lined the Highway 3A/6 entrance to Nelson to pay tribute to NPD Const. Mathieu Nolet. — The Nelson Daily photo