I hope this doesn’t happen to Chuck

Skier tracks in deep snow on the Pipestone river

Skier tracks in deep snow on the Pipestone river. File photo from Jan 2015

Chuck, our #1 Trip Reporter, is notorious for crossing semi-frozen rivers and creeks without ever falling in. When I look at his photos, I can almost hear the ice cracking beneath his skis. An incident occurred on Friday on the Pipestone river to three skiers who broke through the ice. From the story in the Crag and Canyon

In a separate incident Friday, three local backcountry skiers, two males and one female, were travelling up the Pipestone River toward Little Pipestone Cabin and crossing the river when one of the members of the party fell into an open area of water. One of the other two in the party jumped in to assist the fallen person and they were able to get out of the water and back to shore.

Drenched and cold, the party called in to Parks dispatch for a rescue via radio but one was not feasible until the next morning due to darkness.

“The group, being very well-prepared, managed to build a fire in a makeshift shelter and spent the night out and then visitor safety staff were able to conduct a routine helicopter evacuation the next day,” said Beardmore. “Other than being cold, wet and tired, they were fine.”

The incident occurred approximately 10 kilometres from Lake Louise Ski Resort.

Beardmore warns outdoor adventurers that currently ice is not as thick as usual and they should be cautious travelling across a body of water.

“Creeks for this time of year are more open than usual for a variety of reasons, typically warmer temperatures and more snow. So places where people would typically expect to walk over a frozen body of water, they aren’t frozen right now,” said Beardmore.

When I skied the Pipestone loop on Monday, I was right on the shore of the river and could see that it was still open in a lot of areas. If you click on the link, you can also read about a man who went over Bow Falls today.


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  1. I was shocked by the tracks that stomped straight out on to Watridge Lake at Mt Shark area last week. That’s just cray, as the kids now say.

  2. XC ski is dangerous, definitely not for all out there 🙂

  3. Years ago on a ski trip to palliser pass that very thing happened to me. Ended up going for a dip in the spray river. It was impossible to pull myself out of the water as my skis were under the ice. Once I tossed my heavy pack to the side my friend was able to pull me up and out (with great difficulty!)without losing my skis (luckily!). Then it was a matter of getting my boots and all my wet
    clothes off and starting a fire to dry off and prevent hypothermia. With no cell phones back then we were on our own to deal with the situation. Managed to continue to palliser pass and enjoyed a week of fine skiing (despite skiing in frozen boots the rest of the trip).Things wouldn’t have turned out so well if we weren’t prepared to deal with emergencies however. Like the Boy Scouts say “be prepared!”

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