Mountaintop memorial one year after soldier dies in avalanche
Amy Stalker, CTV Calgary
Published Friday, February 5, 2016 3:56PM MST
Last Updated Friday, February 5, 2016 7:15PM MST
A difficult anniversary is bringing a New Brunswick couple to Alberta.
One year ago, Sgt. Mark Salesse was swept away in an avalanche during a routine training exercise in Banff National Park.
Salesse’s climbing partner tried to dig through the debris but the conditions became too dangerous.
It took a week to recover his body.
His mother, Liz Quinn, and stepfather, Robert Brady, flew to Polar Circus on Friday.
“It’s important for me to be here today to recognize that he accomplished everything that he set out,” says Quinn.
“I want to retrace the steps Mark has made and support my wife,” said Brady.
The emotional flight left from the Springbank Airport with several of Salesse’s friends joining his parents.
The Winnipeg-based Salesse was an experienced soldier and spent much of his life rescuing others.
He was also remembered as a man who lived for adventure.
“He put other people first that was one of Mark’s qualities,” says Denis Byrne. “He was a fantastic outdoorsman, a great soldier, a fantastic guy and he's also one of Canada’s best search and rescue technicians.”
Rob Munro of Guardian Helicopters flew the group to Banff. “Mark was an old friend and a chance to do something nice for his parents and also a bit of a memorial for a friend I had for a long time.”
The Canadian Forces held an inquiry into how Salesse died and how to prevent similar accidents.
Those findings should be released later this month.
(With files from Ina Sidhu)