A memorial service for Big White snowboarder Nickolas Voyer-Taylor remained uncertain Thursday after his mother arrived in Kelowna.
The 22-year-old from Winnipeg, a cook at popular Snowshoe Sam's, died Tuesday after skiers found him upside-down in a creek bed, buried in snow, partially submerged in water and suffering from severe hypothermia.
"I don't know if the mountain is going to do a memorial," said Michael J. Ballingall, senior VP at Big White Ski Resort.
"We've been in contact with Snowshoe Sam's. They haven't requested one yet, but if they did request one, of course, we would do it. It's all still very raw."
Hundreds of skiers and snowboarders go through the Sapphire Glades area below the Falcon Chair every day, noted Ballingall. "It's not an unsafe area. A tree well is a tree well; a creek bed is a creek bed. It's a hazard."
With wind and a huge amount of snow received by the mountain during the past month, skiers and boarders couldn't even see the gully, he said.
"If there is a little gully there, it had 10 feet of snow on top of it. It's all pretty soft so when he lost it into it, it just swallowed him up."
Big White always recommends against skiing or boarding alone and when venturing off groomed runs, carrying a whistle to get the attention of others.
In this case, Voyer-Taylor was upside-down "so whether it would have worked or not, I don't know," said Ballingall.
Voyer-Taylor became separated from a group of friends about 11:30 a.m. Other skiers came across him three hours later, notified ski patrollers who used a defibrillator, which applies electric shocks to restore a normal heartbeat, CPR and other life-saving measures.
They moved Voyer-Taylor 200 metres onto Village Way where a doctor administered drugs. The group worked on him as he was transported to the Westridge parking lot where an ambulance was waiting. Two ski patrollers, the doctor and a paramedic worked on him as they drove to Kelowna General Hospital. Emergency doctors tried to revive him in hospital, but soon determined it wasn't viable and pronounced him dead.
Even though thousands of skiers and boarders descend the Big White slopes every winter, deaths from the physical activity are extremely rare:
â€¢ On March 16, 2011, college student Matthew Ferguson, 27, died under eerily similar circumstances. The London, Ont., native had been skiing alone when he was discovered upside-down in a tree well at 2 p.m. Rescuers attempted to resuscitate him en route to KGH where he was later pronounced dead.
â€¢ On Dec. 10, 2010, Doug Jamieson, the resort's grooming supervisor, collapsed unconscious on Serwa's run with an apparent heart attack about noon. A snowboarder attempted CPR and mouth-to-mouth resuscitation before an emergency doctor and ski patrollers arrived to help. Despite their efforts to save him, Jamieson was pronounced dead. Jamieson, in his early 60s, had worked at Big White since 1978 averaging 110 skiing days on average every winter. In all, he skied more than 3,000 days on the mountain - a record no one will likely every exceed.
Jamieson was invited to groom at several Winter Olympic games and worked at the Calgary Games in 1988. He became chief trainer for all groomers at Big White in 2003.
â€¢ On Jan. 6, 2008, 21-year-old Australian skier Leigh Barnier was killed by an avalanche in the Parachute Bowl.
He was one of three people caught in a torrent of snow on the steep double-black-diamond run at 11 a.m. Two people, including a 12-year-old boy, were rescued.
Barnier, who lived at the resort and worked for a private housekeeping company, was last seen by friends at the bottom of a lift a half-hour before the 1.6-hectare slide. He told them he was "going for one more run."
His friends reported him missing at 3:15 p.m. so ski patrollers and RCMP dog teams launched an unsuccessful fifth grid search of the debris field.
On Jan. 7, police dog teams scoured the area, some of the debris was removed by a snowcat, and a subsequent search by police dogs and excavators found Barnier under three to four metres of snow.