Eighteen-year-old Cole Anderson has died after falling from a cliff on Whistler Blackcomb on Saturday.
Anderson, a Campbell River student and elite skier, was skiing on Blackcomb Mountain on March 21 when he went off the edge of a cliff, falling 12 metres into trees and rocks, according to a statement from the mountain.
According to CBC, Anderson had been skiing since he was three years old, was a member of the Mount Washington Ski Club and was a certified coach. He was set to graduate from Timberline Secondary this year and his post-graduation plans included buying a Toyota truck and living in the back while skiing around B.C.
Anderson’s accomplishments on the ski hill included a gold medal in the 2013 Teck B.C. Coast Zone competition.
As stated in the mountain’s statement, Anderson was skiing with three or four friends in the Crystal Zone area when the group went too close to the cliff boundaries.
“It’s a treed area on the edge of a ski trail, so as you go in and out of the trees from the ski run … and he went through the cliff disks that indicated where the cliff was and got a little too far left and wound up going off the cliff,” said Doug MacFarlane, Director of Operations for Whistler Blackcomb.
Ski patrol was notified of the accident around 3 p.m. and arrived within minutes to find Anderson unconscious and unresponsive. A total of nine ski patrollers, two doctors and a paramedic were on scene. They used a defibrilator to try to revive Anderson, but he was ultimately pronounced dead at 3:41 p.m.
Anderson was wearing a helmet at the time of the accident.
Whistler Blackcomb is now issuing a safety reminder to skiers and snowboarders to stay aware of trail signage. “We do put a great deal of effort into our markings and hope that people ski within their ability, within the visibility of the terrain and know the geography they’re going into. So ski within your ability,” MacFarlane said.