Search ongoing for Abbotsford parks manager missing on ski trip
The Abbotsford News has learned that a man reported missing near Golden, B.C. after falling down a crevasse while backcountry skiing is Mark Taylor, the general manager of the city's parks, recreation and culture department.
Taylor was backcountry skiing with two others – his daughter in her 30s and a man in his 60s – on the B.C. side of the Wapta Traverse, located northeast of Golden on the B.C.-Alberta border in the Canadian Rockies.
Omar McDadi, spokesperson with Parks Canada, said the trio were on a five-day excursion in the area – a popular mountaineering spot – and would have been staying at huts along the way.
McDadi said the three were experienced skiers who were carrying equipment that included emergency beacons and shovels.
“From our estimation, they had the right equipment,” he said.
A distress signal was received by authorities late Tuesday night, and Parks Canada was alerted at 12:26 a.m. Wednesday, McDadi said.
He said the three skiers would have encountered blizzard conditions at the time.
Search and rescue crews were unable to get to the site of the distress signal all day Wednesday and Thursday.
“We made numerous attempts to get to the area … but we couldn’t because of blizzard conditions and high avalanche danger,” McDadi said.
A break in the weather Friday morning allowed rescue crews to reach the other two skiers, who had made a snow cave to stay warm.
The pair said that they had received a signal from Taylor’s emergency avalanche beacon from a point 35 metres deep.
McDadi said this is not a confirmation of how deep Taylor would have fallen down the crevasse, as the beacon could have dropped a distance.
Continued bad weather hampered their attempts to reach the point since then. The search was called off Monday,, but the forecast is looking more favourable for Tuesday, McDadi said.
“We’re kind of in a holding pattern right now … Our goal is to put somebody into the crevasse. We remain committed to that goal,” McDadi told The News on Monday afternoon.
Taylor has been with the City of Abbotsford for more than 12 years. He was an integral part of the bid that landed Abbotsford the 2016 BC Summer Games and has been working for the city to examine a possible partnership with the YMCA to create a new facility in Abbotsford.
“Our thoughts and prayers are with Mark and his family and we respect their need for privacy during this difficult time,” said Mayor Bruce Banman.
Watch abbynews.com for updates.