Vancouver man dies on Whistler Mountain 

A Vancouver man died while skiing an expert run Tuesday on Whistler Mountain.

"It’s speculation as to what happened," said Whistler-Blackcomb spokeswoman Christina Moore, "as there were no witnesses."

"He was by himself at the time that he fell. It is a very steep area and the conditions were hard-packed and there are a lot of trees and there was impact with a tree, so we think it was a combination of impacts."

The skier, who has not been identified at the request of family, was not wearing a helmet at the time of the accident. He was skiing with his wife but she was not with him on the run when he lost his life.

The 59-year-old man was skiing in the VD Chutes area, a black diamond area.

Another skier, who called 911, found him. Ski patrol and a mountain doctor rushed to the scene around 11:50 a.m., but the man was pronounced dead at the scene.

The RCMP and coroner Jan MacFayden are investigating the accident.

The skies were clear, the winds were calm and visibility was unlimited at the time of the incident.

"This is always a really sad situation when this happens," said Moore.

"If there is any message we can send out to people it is for them to realize that what makes this mountain environment so loved, so well known, and famous can also be dangerous and so people need to be prepared, to take care, and to know where they are going."

This is the fifth person to have died this season on the local mountains. All were male.

An autopsy will be performed on the skier today, said MacFayden, who flew over the accident area Wednesday.

While the number of deaths on Whistler and Blackcomb is up this year MacFayden believes these things go in cycles. At this time there appears to be no link in any of the deaths and the coroner is currently satisfied that Whistler-Blackcomb is doing all it can to maintain a safe environment for recreationalists.

Part of what may be driving the increase in deaths is society’s current love affair with things extreme.

"I do think things go in cycles," said MacFayden.

"I know that when things are advertised, whether it is skiing, snowboarding, mountain biking or whatever, it is all about pushing the limits and taking those extra risks, and I think it has to have an impact on society."

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