Author Tags: Outdoors

Although it wasn’t on par with the deaths of sixteen Sherpas earlier on Everest in 2014, it was headline news worldwide in 2003 when seven skiers were killed by an avalanche in the Selkirk Mountains.

As Ken Wylie vividly recalls in Buried (Rocky Mountain Books $25), the doomed adventurers had arrived by helicopter from nearby Revelstoke for extreme skiing under the direction of Ruedi Beglinger, the owner and chief guide of the Selkirk Mountain Experience. He had been running ski tours from his Durrand Glacier Chalet every winter for the past eighteen years.

“Each year I ski over million vertical feet,” Beglinger told new arrivals at their indoctrination session. Described as temperamental and autocratic, Beglinger, with “a sharp Swiss accent,” also informed his guests they would have to pay for helicopter costs if they had to be evacuated due to injury. Lessons in avalanche preparedness were given. Skiers learned that if a person is buried in snow for 30 minutes, statistically they have only a fifty per cent chance of survival if retrieved.

Ken Wylie would be buried for 35 minutes.

Ken Wylie is an internationally certified mountain guide and a member of the International Federation of Mountain Guides Associations, the Association of Canadian Mountain Guides, and the American Mountain Guides Association. He has led expeditions around the world including Canada, New Zealand, Peru, Denali, and Joshua Tree. He has 30 years of experience as a mountain guide and experiential educator for organizations including Yamnuska Mountain School, Outward Bound Canada, and Outward Bound USA.

Ken Wylie has also taught courses at the University of Calgary and as a faculty member at Mount Royal University and Thompson Rivers University. Courses included leadership; rock, ice, and alpine climbing; and ski touring and expedition planning. Originally from Alberta, Canada, Wylie founded Mountains for Growth in 2013 to help individuals and groups gain personal insight and wisdom through outdoor adventures.


Buried (Rocky Mountain Books 2014) $25.00

[BCBW 2014]