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Avalanch Surviveor on TV (My rant on the subject!)

post #1 of 16
Thread Starter 
I was Watching the Today show this morning when they had a segment on the Guy who was rescued from an Avalanch in the Wasatch Back country. They had him along with two of the People who helped dig him out. Peter Hensen the survivor of this Avalanch is a vary lucky guy. He claims to be an experienced back country skier. Yet he didn't follow some basic rules like skiing witha partner, telling someone of his route and He didn't know the terrain he was skiing in. My complaint about this segment is that they didn't get into any of Mr Hansens mistakes or any info on how to ski in the back country safely. Mat Lauer of the Today show is an avid skier and He should have stressed The importents of following safty guidelines for goiing into out of bounds areas. I feel the Today show should do a follow up piece by a true Back country expert and show how The vary lucky Mr Hensen was his own worst enemy in that situation.
post #2 of 16
Your first problem is watching the Today show. The morning shows are all information light and people heavy. Please don't hold your breath hoping the Today show will actually stoop to informing the public, while it does happen, it is rare.

Back country skills are in short supply amoung back country skiiers.

Mark
post #3 of 16
Yeh Dog, ya got it right!!!! [img]graemlins/thumbsup.gif[/img]
post #4 of 16
Quote:
Originally posted by Utah49:
...I feel the Today show should do a follow up piece by a true Back country expert and show how The vary lucky Mr Hensen was his own worst enemy in that situation.
Utah49:

That's an admirable sentiment but I hope you're not holding your breath.

What's truly laughable about this whole thing is that it sounds like this guy is now becoming something of a celebrity. I guess he'd be even more famous if he'd died.

Bob
post #5 of 16
I bet that Oprah will do an "in depth" show on the backcountry.
post #6 of 16
I always find it funny that people get so upset over a situation like this, and I am refering to Mr. hansens action and not the presentation done by the Today Show. Mr. Hansen has been skiing in the backcountry for years, according to him. He obviously had some knowledge, or else he would not be wearing a beacon or have other gear with him. He had skied the same slope earlier in the day. That same slope had been skied several times over the weekend. There are many incredibly experienced and knowledgable people who enter the bc solo. I have on several occasion seen the head of the UAFC by himself in the bc. Granted, the avalanche hazard was considerable on that day, as it had been for the previous ten days before that. You are right about his incredible luck, but why rip on someone who got incredibly lucky? Also, I heard Matt Lauer say several times that most people who get caught in an avie don't survive. In the intro to the story, they mentioned the power and dangers of avalanches. Th
post #7 of 16
Interesting that those individuals who, by their own folly, manage to get into to these situations, and then by sheer luck, become celebrities by surviving them.

Remember Anna Conrad? Caught for several days in the employee locker room at Alpine Meadows, she and her fiance' (died in the incident) were warned and specifically told to stay away from the area on several occasions. Yet they x-c skied into the area, past barriers advising them to stay out. She only lost a foot on one leg and the foot and part of her other leg, due to frostbite. To this day, the media still trot her out as some sort of poster child. By the way- she made a huge settlement with the ski area for "damages".

But did anybody hear about the skiers buried a couple/few seasons ago at Copper mtn, when patrol set off a slide which came in bounds and caught them on an open trail? Of course that one was kept fairly quiet. They did not perish, thankfully.

I have lost good friends to avalanches, by what would seem to be their own mistakes. You make your best guess, spin the wheel, and take your chances.

Could it be that PSIA/AASI is missing a great opportunity to do a great service by offering more B/C training courses? Most divisions offer a program to pro's, but how about offering them to the public?

If going into the B/C, use your head, and be safe!

:
post #8 of 16
Quote:
Originally posted by vail snopro:

Remember Anna Conrad? Caught for several days in the employee locker room at Alpine Meadows, she and her fiance' (died in the incident) were warned and specifically told to stay away from the area on several occasions. Yet they x-c skied into the area, past barriers advising them to stay out. She only lost a foot on one leg and the foot and part of her other leg, due to frostbite. To this day, the media still trot her out as some sort of poster child. By the way- she made a huge settlement with the ski area for "damages".
:
There is a difference however. In the above mentioned case, the avalanche was started by the ski patrol doing control work. They had no idea that the slide would reach the magnitude that it did. I agree that they should have followed the recommendation of theposted signs. But the slide that buried Hansen was started by Hansen, not by another party. In either case, mistakes were made. And, being a poster child is not necessarily a bad thing.
post #9 of 16
CC-
Your facts are marginally inaccurate.

The patrol had been doing AC work all morning, and hadn't been able to break much loose. They realized the growing danger, and were in a meeting in the Mtn Mgr's office when it broke loose on it's own. When it hit the day lodge, (same slide as buried Conrad) it went right into the Mgr's office and killed several patrollers and the Mtn Mgr.

As far as "poster child", when it is a good idea to praise stupidity? :

:
post #10 of 16
Matt Lauer skis?! That's weird to think about. Anybody notice the Reader's Digest article about the guy who got buried? Very good article. The guy made mistakes which were pointed out in the article, and as a result, he got buried. His friend dug him out after he passed out. He was only about 300 yards from his car at the time.
post #11 of 16
Quote:
Originally posted by vail snopro:


Remember Anna Conrad?
Here is the story. A truly great read. The moral is, the Sierra's can get a bit of snow occasionally.
post #12 of 16
i may be a sick sob, but its always been my dream to outrun a small to mid size avy, but theres no way in hell im gonna go outta my way to set one off. As for the dude being lucky, i have no problem with that, at least he had minimum protection which is probably why hes still alive. Another thing, i know theres got to be some of you that have traveled outside the ropes without transeivers or probes (i admit i have). even if you have a partner, it wont help much if your both taken out or if neither of you have the proper equipment. i think more of you should give this guy a break, he almost frikken died for christ sakes.

just my dissenting 2 cents
post #13 of 16
Quote:
Originally posted by vail snopro:
CC-

As far as "poster child", when it is a good idea to praise stupidity? :

:
I would say there are many "poster children" that relay a good message. Take sports. I would say that Picabo Street is a poster child for determination, hard work, dedication, and toughness. Or Jerry rice is a poster child of consistency. Poster children are not always stupid. In this case, how about making him a poster child for the imporatance of being prepared?

Thanks for correcting me on the Alpine Meadow incident. I was just going off of info relayed to me by one of the patrollers who was there at the time.
post #14 of 16
I have to go along with crystalextreme on this one. Mr. Hansen is having his 15 minutes of fame. Probably not the 15 minutes he would prefer. I've definately done most of the things wrong that he did at one time or another. With the exception of going out alone (althought there seem to have been several other groups around Hansen - see the story).

These stories do keep reminding me of the need to be aware and accountable for what I do.And how easy it is to screw-up.
post #15 of 16
[ January 17, 2003, 12:59 AM: Message edited by: Bullet ]
post #16 of 16
...at this point, anything that increases avalanche danger awareness is a good thing. The 15 minutes of fame that the very lucky experience serves as a vehicle to a greater good. Is it dumb to those in the know? No doubt that it is. But it is generating more awareness for those who aren't in the know. Look how it has inspired us to yack about it.
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