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Date = 98/01/10br Time = 15:30br Location = Norns Creek, about 15 kilometres NW of Castlegar, BCbr Avalanche Trigger = Snowmobilingbr Activity = Snowmobilingbr Party Size = 12+br People Caught = 1br Complete Burials = 1br Fatalities = 1br Name 1 = Kevin Langillebr
Snowmobiler killed in avalanche
By RAYMOND MASLECK - Trail Times Staff
A 35-year-old Fruitvale man was killed by an avalanche while snowmobiling Saturday in Norns Creek, about 15 kilometres northwest of Castlegar.
Kevin Langille, 35, was riding in the steep-sided, high-country drainage, west of Pass Creek, with a group of more than a dozen snowmobilers from Castlegar and Fruitvale when the avalanche struck at 3:30 p.m. He was ascending a steep, 100- to 150-metre slope well-known in the snowmobiling community for its challenge.
"He wanted to make one last run and put up the high mark of day," said Dennis Deptuck, a close friend and business associate, who wasn't on the outing." He apparently had made it to the top and was coming back down when the whole mountain broke away."
Langille was wearing a avalanche locater beacon and was dug out of the snow in less than 15 minutes, Deptuck said. He was given CPR on site, but was pronounced dead on arrival at Castlegar District Hospital after being evacuated by helicopter.
The Castlegar RCMP released few details over the weekend and the exact cause of death was not disclosed.
The hill was so steep that it didn't hold snow well and many experienced snowmobilers would not venture into the area except in very stable snow conditions. The Canadian Avalanche Centre In Revelstoke is rating the slide hazard in Southern Columbia generally as high, representing "extreme danger" for backcountry travellers.
"It was a calculated risk," said a member of the Castlegar Snowmobile Club, who didn't want his name used. "Lots of people wouldn't go into that area, but lots of people would. They were all experienced riders. This was nobody's fault. It is just one of those things that happens."
Another club member, George Plotnikoff, of Thrums said he only goes into the area when the snow is very stable.
"We all knew about that hill and and we know not to go in there until spring. But it is a place you want to go. Once you are up above the tree line it is gorgeous. There is no place better."
Langille owned Trakk Recreation Repair, a snowmobile dealership located in Trail, as well as the Minute Brake franchise. He was married and had two children attending Beaver Valley Valley Middle School. Langille also led a popular country and western band called Roughshod.
"He was an awesome guy," said Deptuck, who hired him as a mechanic 15 years ago, and then sold him the brake repair portion of his brake and muffler shop several years ago.
"He would give you the shirt off his back. He was a central person in the community and touched a lot of people."