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In the Path of an Avalanche: A True Story

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Adventurers from all over the world come to Canada's Selkirks, a mecca for ski touring that offers unlimited mountain terrain and lots of snow. On a clear, cold morning in January 1998, six experienced back-country skiers set out across one of its heavily loaded slopes and were caught in a Class 3 avalanche, burying all of them in its path. Vivien Bowers takes us through the tragic series of events, focusing on one of the young women who perished in the slide, and the avalanche's aftermath. Bowers tells of the arduous search-and-retrieval effort, the "big-city" media invasion, and how the victims' family and friends, and the inhabitants of a nearby small town, attempted to bring meaning and resolution to the tragedy.

Along the way Bowers illuminates a natural phenomenon that has threatened human endeavors throughout the world. Interwoven with the narrative is the science behind the event, including avalanche triggers and the complex process of avalanche prediction. Her book also raises unsettling questions about acceptable risk, about human fallibility, about living fully and dying young-and about what might entice a group of knowledgeable, experienced skiers to place themselves in the path of an avalanche.

240 pages, Paperback

First published October 3, 2003

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About the author

Vivien Bowers was born in Vancouver, Canada in 1951, the second of four children. She received a B.A. in English (honours) from the University of British Columbia followed by a teaching certificate, and was a grade 5 teacher for several years in Nelson, BC. Vivien has been a freelance writer for more than twenty-five years, writing elementary and secondary school materials, as well as non-fiction books and magazine articles for both adults and children. She has been invited to do presentations on her children's books in hundreds of schools and libraries across the country. Bowers has two sons, now grown up, and lives at the base of the mountains outside of Nelson, BC. She loves to escape into the wilderness to ski, hike or canoe.

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Displaying 1 - 2 of 2 reviews
Profile Image for Pooja Peravali.
Author 2 books52 followers
May 25, 2021
A portrait of a tragic avalanche, I enjoyed the narrative much more than the chapters of avalanche science, though I understand why both are equally important.
Profile Image for Kerri.
19 reviews1 follower
August 25, 2012
I knew several of the people involved in the avalanche and the rescue following the accident. I wanted to read the book to have more perspective on what happened without causing any more grief to those involved. Bowers offers an analysis that is sensitive to the aspirations of backcountry travellers, non-judgemental. She examines the dynamics of snow study and the conditions that produce massive avalanches, leadership styles and decision-making in high risk situations and also the demanding role performed by the rescue team. A valuable account to read for anyone who travels in remote/high risk terrain.
Displaying 1 - 2 of 2 reviews

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