By John Rune, KCR News

NELSON, B.C – The police officer who died in an avalanche north of Kaslo on Monday has been identified as Const. Wade Tittemore, 43.

Nelson Police Chief Donovan Fisher said during a media conference on Tuesday that Tittemore had been with the department for the past four years, when he was struck by an avalanche during an off-duty backcountry trip with another officer.

“Wade was a hard worker, a skilled officer and a dedicated family man,” Fisher said. “He was a mentor and an example to many of our junior officers. He will be missed terribly by all of us.”

Local rescue agencies were alerted to a remote area near Goat Range provincial park north of Kaslo just past noon on Monday, following an avalanche.

On the site, Const. Mathieu Nolet, 28, was located with severe injuries, and an intense search managed to locate Wade Tittemore.

The father of two was declared deceased on the scene. The two were both experienced backcountry skiers, but were facing a significant avalanche danger. Nolet is currently at Trail hospital in critical condition.

Avalanche Canada said in a post on its website that some professionals are comparing this year’s snowpack to 2003, considered one of the worst counted by fatalities.

The loss shook the 20-person strong department, as members gathered at the station on Monday night, where they received peer support, as well as the presence of an RCMP chaplain, who was in the area on an unrelated matter.

Fisher says the department, already struggling with significant staffing shortages, will be supported by local RCMP, who are currently covering 24 hours of all of the department’s shifts.

“A lot of people have stepped up and offered help, so I have no concerns that we will have the policing in our jurisdiction covered for as long as we need to,” said Fisher.

Nelson Mayor Janice Morrison said that the community is in grief over the loss.

“This police force is part of the community of Nelson,” she said. “We have depended on them for many challenges over the years, so it is with heavy hearts that the community feels this loss.

On Tuesday, Prime Minister Justin Trudeau, who lost his brother in an avalanche in the West Kootenays in 1998, extended his condolences to the department, as did B.C Public Safety Minister Mike Farnworth.

Nelson Police has set up a condolence email for Wade Tittemores next of kin, where community members can reach out at