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Lost skier survives night on Treble Cone

post #1 of 24
Thread Starter 
post #2 of 24

Like to know what he was wearing.

post #3 of 24
Thread Starter 

http://www.stuff.co.nz/the-press/news/9062523/Missing-elderly-skier-found-with-broken-legs

 

Slightly updated. Now having surgery in Dunedin. Doesn't say what he was wearing, but if Treble Cone yesterday had similar weather to Canterbury skifields (it is a few hundred kms further south, so may not have), it mightn't have been hideously cold. Wet and foggy though.

post #4 of 24
Sort of underlines why you should ski with a buddy if you don't know where you're going. Or if you don't know left from right?
post #5 of 24

I can totally see how this happened.

 

To be fair  to the guy involved, Treble Cone, like all NZ ski areas is above the tree line - in fact in that part of the country the only trees are way down off the mountain in the valley next to the lake, so low visibility or white-out is really no vis in North American terms (and yes I have skied both). You really don;t know which way is up and there are likely to be few skiers around, so you can't rely on following the crowd. I've pasted the TC trail map below to give you some context - basically there are only two main lifts for a lot of terrain and there are no restaurants/cafes/patrol shelters etc up there either, so basically no large infrastructure to orientate yourself.

 

trail map front

 

It is perfectly legitimate to go left at the top of the chair, there's some great skiing out there - and in white-out if you go left you can ski down the ridge and avoid some pretty nasty drop offs. TC, like many other NZ ski fields has few trail markers/signs and the ski area boundary is not marked by ropes etc all the way round.

 

Here's a view of the Saddle Basin Chair taken last month during school holidays in the late morning (so when it was busy). You can also see that there is plenty of terrain on the far side of the lift line.

 

 

You can see how easy it is to traverse further than you think. Basically if you don't want to go down the chutes you traverse above the rocks until you get past them. One of the main clues that you have traversed far enough is the groomed blue run, but in whiteout you could easily miss it.

 

And this is the base of the Saddle Basin lift

 

 

 And finally the crowds at the top

 

It's not always like this by the way, it was remarkably quiet for a school holiday day.

 

And it is also important to bear in mind that Treble Cone is in a chain of mountains so it can be hard to determine where one area stops and another begins.

 

This report gives a bit more information

 

http://www.stuff.co.nz/the-press/news/9062523/Missing-elderly-skier-found-with-broken-legs

 

He is lucky that the bus driver raised the alarm, that guy deserves a medal.

 

This does raise the issue of skiing alone when on holiday and has got us wondering about personal locator beacons if we are in this situation.

 

Really pleased that it turned out well for this guy though.

post #6 of 24
Quote:
Originally Posted by Ski Kiwi View Post

.....so low visibility or white-out is really no vis in North American terms (and yes I have skied both). You really don;t know which way is up.... 

 

Well, to be fair to Sibhusky, she does know a weeee bit about skiing in low to no visibility conditions.

 

That said, I'll grant ya that unlike this neck o' the (actual) woods, that area does indeed look pretty doggone featureless.

post #7 of 24

Some of those pictures remind me of skiing  Lone Peak at Big Sky.  We had some incredible winds and snow during ESA there back in 2009 which is when Squatty gave us a lesson on "how to ski in a milk bottle" 

 

You really have no idea which way is up or down. 

 

Glad this skier is safe.  

post #8 of 24
Quote:
Originally Posted by Ski Kiwi View Post

 

This report gives a bit more information

 

http://www.stuff.co.nz/the-press/news/9062523/Missing-elderly-skier-found-with-broken-legs

 

He is lucky that the bus driver raised the alarm, that guy deserves a medal.

 

This does raise the issue of skiing alone when on holiday and has got us wondering about personal locate beacons if we are in this situation.

 

 

Maybe for another thread, but there is a new free app from Road ID that should be very useful tracking skiers for exactly this situation.   

 

http://www.roadid.com/ecrumb

 

My wife has started using it on bike rides, and it was useful when she was recently on a business trip in a strange city.  I was able to see her location to know she was OK.  I even helped her navigate to a location remotely so she could keep her eyes on the road.   It's only available on iPhone now, but coming soon from Android.  I plan to start using it for all bike rides and skiing when available on android, as I'm often out alone.

 

The way it works is you start the app and enter the contacts (text or email) of who you want to track you.  They are notified with a link to a webpage where they can see where you are and where you have been for as long as you specify.   Anybody who has that link can see where you are, so it would be easy to forward to SAR or Ski Patrol in an emergency.   Here's how they describe it:

 

 

The biggest downside I see is it needs a data connection to work.  Fortunatly, I'd say 80% of where I usually ski is covered by a data connection.   I suspect the "Stationary Alert" message via SMS also has a good chance of getting through in areas with cell coverage but no data coverage, which bumps up the coverage a bit.

post #9 of 24
I know you can get totally disoriented in just a few 100 feet, enough to be on the wrong trail and not know it or sense it. At which point, STOP MOVING until there a break in things. A guy broke his back falling off a cliff on East Rim because he was sure he knew where he was, he lay there for hours. And we don't have featureless terrain here like that. I'm hoping what happened is this fog came up while he was on the chair, no one was there, and he was actually heading down to get the heck off the mountain, gingerly feeling his way, and this happened anyway..

That ecrumb thing sounds like the Spot device we've been using for our family for years. The Spot uses satellites, so there's no data connection issue, unless you are working in canyons, like my daughter was years ago, which can convince your family that your body is at the bottom of a cliff.. For hours...
post #10 of 24

So if that place is so wide open with hardly any skiers around how come it costs so much to park at ski resorts down under?

 

Seriously though, glad the person is going to be OK.  I used to ski alone almost all the time when I was in my 20s and 30s.  I'm learning to avoid that unless sticking close to the lift cables and towers or clearly marked trails if I'm not really familiar with the resort terrain.

post #11 of 24

I skied Treble Cone pretty much on my own 2 days in 2006. 

http://www.firsttracksonline.com/boards/viewtopic.php?f=6&t=2208

http://www.firsttracksonline.com/boards/viewtopic.php?f=6&t=2220

These were among my best lift served ski days in 6 separate Southern Hemisphere ski trips.

 

I recognized the name "Gottlieb's" from my trip.  Gottlieb's Basin was on the drawing board of Treble Cone expansion plans, which seem to have been shelved after 2008.   Between Saddle Basin and Gottlieb's Basin are the Motatupu Chutes, fairly serious terrain with a blind and very intermediate approach from above via Hollywood Bowl.  The lost skier is very lucky he didn't head down into that area with the bad visibility.

Quote:
Quote:
Originally Posted by Ski Kiwi View Post

.....so low visibility or white-out is really no vis in North American terms (and yes I have skied both). You really don;t know which way is up.... 

 

Well, to be fair to Sibhusky, she does know a weeee bit about skiing in low to no visibility conditions.

Whitefish is one of the best places anywhere to ski in foggy conditions.  Ski Kiwi is right.   I had a fog morning at Coronet Peak on very intermediate terrain in 1997 and I've never been so disoriented on skis.

 

I ski alone a lot more than most people.  I'll have to check out that app.   I'm guessing cell reception in Saddle Basin might not be too good though.

post #12 of 24
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by crgildart View Post

So if that place is so wide open with hardly any skiers around how come it costs so much to park at ski resorts down under?

You may be thinking of Australia. I've never paid to park at any NZ ski area.

Tony Crocker and Ski Kiwi make some good points about skiing in fog here. Without trees and other features you lose all sense of gravity. You can't even tell if you have stopped moving.
post #13 of 24
Quote:
Originally Posted by Trekchick View Post

Some of those pictures remind me of skiing  Lone Peak at Big Sky.  We had some incredible winds and snow during ESA there back in 2009 which is when Squatty gave us a lesson on "how to ski in a milk bottle" 

 

You really have no idea which way is up or down. 

 

Glad this skier is safe.  

 

 

Hi fellow powder-Lone Peak-skier .    Squatty "skiing in a milk bottle" boy can he hit a nail on the head.    Glad the Kiwi made it through-shit happens-suck it up.

post #14 of 24
Quote:
Originally Posted by Tony Crocker View Post

I skied Treble Cone pretty much on my own 2 days in 2006. 

http://www.firsttracksonline.com/boards/viewtopic.php?f=6&t=2208

http://www.firsttracksonline.com/boards/viewtopic.php?f=6&t=2220

These were among my best lift served ski days in 6 separate Southern Hemisphere ski trips.

 

I recognized the name "Gottlieb's" from my trip.  Gottlieb's Basin was on the drawing board of Treble Cone expansion plans, which seem to have been shelved after 2008.   Between Saddle Basin and Gottlieb's Basin are the Motatupu Chutes, fairly serious terrain with a blind and very intermediate approach from above via Hollywood Bowl.  The lost skier is very lucky he didn't head down into that area with the bad visibility.

Whitefish is one of the best places anywhere to ski in foggy conditions.  Ski Kiwi is right.   I had a fog morning at Coronet Peak on very intermediate terrain in 1997 and I've never been so disoriented on skis.

 

I ski alone a lot more than most people.  I'll have to check out that app.   I'm guessing cell reception in Saddle Basin might not be too good though.

Yeah, I'm not sure that I'd rely on cell coverage up in Saddle, and wouldn't at all in the outer limits of the field (Motutapu, Hollywood Bowls, or Motutapu). It's an interesting question though, I might see what the coverage is like next time we are down that way.

 

Quote:
Originally Posted by Pete No. Idaho View Post

 

 

Glad the Kiwi made it through-shit happens-suck it up.

 

He was a US national, although given that he has skied here for the past twenty seasons I think we'd give him honorary kiwi status :-)

 

Here's an update and more info on what happened

 

http://www.odt.co.nz/news/queenstown-lakes/269666/badly-hurt-skier-lay-17-hours-snow

 

One other thing about the mountains here that is different from most of other places is the weather. NZ is a long skinny island in the middle of big ocean. There's nothing between us and Antarctica to the South and South America to the east.

 

This means that our weather changes quickly, as in four seasons in one day. In the mountains bad weather can often sneak up very quickly, and will come over the tops rather than up from the valley, so you might not see it coming. 

post #15 of 24
Quote:
ploughed into a snowdrift, struck an obstacle beneath the snow and went over the front of his skis

I've certainly done that! Ran into the side of a groomed run coming out of the trees once. Was a wall of groomed snow above my head which I didn't see. Just plowed straight into it in the fog.
post #16 of 24

I've done similar, but when I've had my skis suddenly stop, my bindings released without giving me compound fractures to my lower legs.  

post #17 of 24
Maybe he was one of these guys worrying about pre-releasing.
post #18 of 24
Quote:
Originally Posted by Ghost View Post

I've done similar, but when I've had my skis suddenly stop, my bindings released without giving me compound fractures to my lower legs.  

Soooo, a certain someone that I ski with from time to time stopped at the top of a run at Loveland this past spring to explain that packed powder on groomers can be wicked because it's soooo fun to lay tracks in and seems firm but if you auger your tips you risk a boot top fracture.  He took off and ripped some awesome RRX, with me behind him laying some marginal RRX, when BAM! his tips augured in, he went head first into the groomer (wish you could have seen the divot).  

This guy is not someone who's likely to be stupid high with his DIN, so he did release but not before causing some shin damage.  He was off snow for several days with wicked shin bruising.  He was really glad he didn't have two boot top fractures.

 

 THAT is how it happens.  

 

Glad he warned me, but wish he hadn't done such a good demonstration. 

post #19 of 24

Chuffed?

While I've plowed into a few snowbanks I didn't see, I'm more likely to BAFL from pow onto a groomed cat track in a white out.  Easy to do in the KT saddle area.

post #20 of 24
BAFL? Even the 'net not helping me with that one.
post #21 of 24
Quote:
Originally Posted by sibhusky View Post

BAFL? Even the 'net not helping me with that one.

Big Air Flat Landing

post #22 of 24

Hi, thank you for the detail.  Toby is a friend of mine and is no fool.  He skies at Alta, Ut and I've never seen him take any unnecessary chances.  Very grateful to the bus driver.  All the talk about din settings, I can tell you that Toby would not have his bindings cranked.  He's 72!  Bones might be a little more brittle than some youngsters.  He knows the value of being able to pop out of his bindings sooner vs later in the fall. 

post #23 of 24
Quote:
Originally Posted by alcskis View Post

Hi, thank you for the detail.  Toby is a friend of mine and is no fool.  He skies at Alta, Ut and I've never seen him take any unnecessary chances.  Very grateful to the bus driver.  All the talk about din settings, I can tell you that Toby would not have his bindings cranked.  He's 72!  Bones might be a little more brittle than some youngsters.  He knows the value of being able to pop out of his bindings sooner vs later in the fall. 

Welcome to EpicSki. 

Glad to know Toby is healing well. 

Please send him our healing wishes. 

post #24 of 24

The latest update, sounds like Toby is healing well and planning some skiing :). The local have been looking after him well which is not uncommon around these parts.

 

http://www.stuff.co.nz/the-press/news/9194704/Skier-recalls-almost-fatal-night-on-slope

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