It was a tragic end to a day of snowboarding at Castle Mountain Resort on Saturday afternoon.
A 30-year-old snowboarder lost control and crashed into a ditch. Despite efforts by emergency personnel, he died on the hill.
The victim was on a run called Buffalo Flats, which resort officials say is designed for beginners. Based on the man’s equipment, it’s believed he was an experienced boarder.
“The better you get, typically, the harder you fall,” says Andrew Rusynyk, the resort’s director of marketing. “You’re going to be going faster than you were as a beginner, so it doesn’t matter if it was on an easy run or hard run.”
“He was going quicker, caught an edge and went down hard.”
Pincher Creek RCMP confirm speed was a factor on the crash. Mounties say the man wasn’t out of bounds, however, the area was un-groomed.
He was also wearing safety gear, including helmet, chest protector and arm deflectors.
The death throwing staff and regulars at Castle Mountain into a state of shock.
“The fortunate part is we do have a tight-knit community here,” says Rusynyk. “People can talk to each other and work through things, and get back to the business of fun.”
It’s been five years since the last fatality at Caste Mountain, when resort officials say a man died while testing his own limits on a difficult run. Despite different circumstances in Saturday’s death, some mountain-goers are thinking twice about their own safety.
“When you’re past that speed limit of being out of control, you’re pushing the boundaries too much,” says one snowboarder.
“When you’re on a steep hill or in the trees and you lose control, it can be scary,” says another, who considers himself an experienced snowboarder.
Ski and snowboard enthusiasts are hoping the deadly incident doesn’t serve as a deterrent.
“There are more people who get hit walking off the curb in town than there are people dying on the slopes,” says Rusynyk. “It was bad timing and an accident.”
The victim’s name is being withheld at the request of his family.