Over the weekend, a 19-year-old skier was swept up in an avalanche near Copper Mountain in Colorado and was buried up to his neck. He survived, thanks to his friends and to technology.
On Saturday, the friends were skiing near Copper Mountain (on the northeast side of Bartlett Peak) when an avalance broke 50 feet above him and carried him all the way to the bottom. According to Kevin Kelble, the flight paramedic at the scene, the avalance “was 15 feet wide at the top, expanding to 65 to 75 feet wide at the toe, and about 500 to 600 vertical feet in length. The snow failed right down to the ground, and there were a lot of rocks.”
The victim’s friends saw it all happen, and rushed to the aide of their friend, digging him out. They clearly saw he was injured, so they called 911, and the Summit County rescue team was able to determine their location through a satellite via the cell phone. Technology saves the day.
The helicopter arrived and took the skier to St. Anthony’s Summit Medical Center where is recovering from serious injuries. These skiers were all trained in avalanche awareness and had the proper gear with them (beacons, probes, shovels etc.), yet this still happened to them. Just goes to show you how crucial it is to be aware of your surroundings, and what can easily happen out there in the backcountry. Spencer Logan of the Colorado Avalance Information Center: “There have been seven incidents and one close call reported in Colorado in October. Nine people have been caught, three of them partially buried and two of them fully buried.
Be safe out there folks.