Police have now identified the Italian snowboarder who likely fell to his death while out-of-bounds on Blackcomb Mountain.
Giancarlo Madella-Amedei, 31, of Coinago, Italy was vacationing in Whistler when the incident happened on March 27.
He is the second snowboarder to die on Blackcomb after heading out-of-bounds this year.
Ai Ito, an English language student living in Whistler for the season, died of exposure March 20 after leaving the in-bounds runs near 7 th Heaven. She was riding solo at the time.
The areas where the boarders went out-of-bounds were clearly marked. In the case of the Italian, a gate with written warnings marked the backcountry.
Bernie Protsch, Whistler Mountain ski patrol manager, said all the boundary markers, which are permanent, are checked every year to make sure they are clear and in place.
“There are permanent posts, there is also signage on both mountains that lets people know that when they do go out of bounds they are going into an area where there is no ski patrol, no avalanche control, and there are objective hazards,” said Protsch
“ … We advise people if they are going out of bounds not to go alone, and to know where you are going.
“What is important to emphasize is that there is a ski area boundary and if you go beyond that boundary it is tiger country. You are on your own.”
The evidence at the scene in the case of Ai Ito suggested that she ended up in an area she couldn’t board in, eventually abandoned her board, and then tried to hike around to get out. She then slipped down into one of the streams which feed Fitzsimmons Creek. Exhausted, she likely lay back to rest at the edge of the stream and never woke up. She was found with her mittens and hat and jacket tightly done up and likely succumbed to exposure.
Amedei, was snowboarding with a friend beside Corona Bowl, which is out-of-bounds and can only be accessed by passing through a closed gate.
A local skier came across them and although the Italians could speak no English he could see they needed help, said Search and Rescue Manager Brad Sills.
The local took them to the Stairmaster area and began to hike up showing them how to exit the area safely. When he got to the top he pointed with his pole the direction to go. At this time Amedei was at the bottom of Stairmaster and his friend part way up. The local skier left believing the Italians knew where they were going.
It’s not clear what happened next but Amedei was reported missing by his companion later that afternoon.
Searchers headed out on snowmobiles that night, said Sills, but poor weather made it too dangerous to continue. The next day an aerial search found Amedei below a 75-metre cliff. He was pronounced dead at the scene.
“The boundaries are well-defined,” said Sills, adding that anyone heading out-of-bounds passes signs telling them that.
“Anyone doing that should be prepared, should know what they are doing, and where they are going. It is big mountain country up here.”
Both incidents are still under investigation by the coroner.
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