Over this past weekend 31-year-old Aaron Karitis was caught in an avalanche near Kicking Horse Valley west of Haines, Alaska while heli-ski guiding for Southeast Alaska Backcountry Adventures (SEABA). Aaron passed away late Monday night after being in critical condition at Providence Alaska Medical Center since Saturday.
Photo courtesy of SEABA
Aaron, a Bend, Oregon native, was an experienced mountain man and heli-ski guide for SEABA for two years. He was skiing the Kicking Horse backcountry area with four clients and one fellow heli-ski guide. According to Alaska State Troopers spokesperson, Beth Ipsen, Karitis checked conditions on the slope, considered it safe to ski down, and gave his group instructions on how to approach the terrain below. Just after Karitis took off ahead of the group, the avalanche was triggered and carried Karitis at least 800 feet down the mountain. His clients and fellow guide were above the fracture line and were unharmed.
Karitis was wearing a locator beacon and was found seven feet below the snow and was unresponsive. He was transported to the local medical clinic in Haines, then later to Providence Alaska Medical Center in Anchorage, where he later passed away.
“Aaron’s passion has always been skiing. He’s always been trying to find that next adventure” said by Aaron”s friend Sean Powell, Bend Bulletin. Aaron’s passion for skiing will live forever on and according to Freeskier, he did not suffer any pain, he left it all on the hill – as he would”ve wanted.
Our condolences go out to Aaron”s family and friends.