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Back country skier dies in avalanche

post #1 of 8
Thread Starter 
I just saw on the news a tele skier has died in an avalanche near Eldora ski resort here in Colorado. He was at the top of the bowl when it broke loose. His friend was at the bottom of the bowl and was tossed into a lake. The friend survived and had to walk six miles soaking wet to Eldora. They were both equipt with beacons and shovels at the time.
post #2 of 8
A true tradgedy, hopefully the first and last of the season. Please be careful and remember a beacon and a probe will only help you 30% of the time if an avalanche occurs.
post #3 of 8
I heard that as I woke up this morning. I used to live on the road those guys had to drive to get up there and have ridden my bike up to and beyond Yankee Doodle Lake many times. It's just this pothole thing beneath some steep loose rock walls.

Could be they slid in there from Eldora. Obviously there is now enough snow to be dangerous.

As I listened I prayed I wouldn't know the guys and I didn't. What a feat to walk out of there!

<FONT COLOR="#800080" SIZE="1">[ November 29, 2001 03:19 PM: Message edited 1 time, by astrochimp ]</font>
post #4 of 8
This is sad.
Here is a good account of a survived avalanche. Freaked me a bit cause I know the author and I have lost friends to avy's.

9 Lives

<FONT COLOR="#800080" SIZE="1">[ November 30, 2001 07:18 AM: Message edited 1 time, by Argus ]</font>
post #5 of 8
Actually I think they were 2 snowboarders. I don't think they checked the avy report before they went out, the avy danger has been fairly high in CO since Thanksgiving.
post #6 of 8
The shallow early seaon snowpack can be especially dangerous. Very sad news.
post #7 of 8
Thread Starter 
Here is an update to the story.

Apparently both of them skied the same terrain on Monday, Tuesday and Wednesday. Thursday all hell broke loose.

Vaughn (who lived) skied down the slope leading to Yankee Doodle Lake first on Thursday, he stopped about half way down to watch Despres (who died) ski down after him. The next thing Vaughn remembers is he was in the middle of the slide started by Despres, he describes it as being rubbed along the ground for 600 feet. He describes it as slowly being crushed as the snow around his body grew denser, filling his breathing passages while trapping his arms, preventing him from clearing the snow from his nose and mouth. The further you go the tighter it packs around you. You know what is happening to you, you just can't do anything about it.

Suddenly Vaughn hit the frozen water of the lake, the force of the avalanche shattering the ice and creating a soupy, slush. The water allowed the snow surrounding him to float away. He said just as he was about to suffocate he could move his arm, he saw light and punched through.

Vaughn said he found himself floating in the middle of the lake about 100 feet from shore, still wearing his back pack he tried using ice chunks to help him float. He estimates it took him almost 30 minutes to navigate amoung the ice floating in the lake to get out.

He tried using his beacon to find Despres' signal but got nothing. He even tried calling his friends cell phone number. Soaking wet he walked for 3 hours to the top of Eldora mountain where a ski worker found him.

Vaughn figures he was just luckier than his friend.
post #8 of 8
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