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Snowboarder Dies

post #1 of 21
Thread Starter 
Here is the latest fatality.

A 16 year old Snowboarder was with a bunch of buddies in a closed area of the BC at Alpental WA. The young man attempted to launch a 30 foot cliff, somehow landing head first into the snow. Cause of death has not been announced but early indication lead to suffocation.

It is very sad, but hopefully this story can get out there and let people know that areas that are posted as "closed" are done so for a reason. Ropes and signs are to be taken very seriously.
post #2 of 21
Argus- I agree with you that CLOSED signs should be taken seriously, but the guy could have hucked a 30 foot cliff inbounds and done the same thing. In any case my condolences to him and his family.
post #3 of 21
There is some great back country skiing at Alpental. You can enter off Snake Dance, however you should consult the trial map first (I can't remember if the sign says "no admittance" or just indicates that it's not patrolled). "The Bluffs" is no doubt the area he went off at, had he gone further north he would have made "Trash Can" which is great skiing.

Very sad indeed.

<FONT COLOR="#800080" SIZE="1">[ January 22, 2002 12:47 PM: Message edited 1 time, by Sugar Snack ]</font>
post #4 of 21
I'm told that the accident happened close to the base area (skiers right of the Armstrong chair). this is not a backcountry area just plain and simple out of bounds. A stream runs down through a very rocky area so it's pretty obvious that it should be avoided. I was at Alpental in the morning the snow was great but I'm glad I wasn't around to see this happen. Also heard that it was head injury not suffocation.
post #5 of 21
Thread Starter 
It's good to hear some of the other accounts and what others have heard. I heard the "suffocation" part from someone this morning. And I only assumed he was in the BC. That whole area on the SHOT 8 side of the mountain is a closed area and I could see it happening there.

Point of the whole post is that we can educate people what safety hazards exist, and tell them when they exist. The issue is we cannot control the lack of common sense used by some individuals.

I feel awful for this guys family and friends. This is a true tragedy.

I'll be up there tonight and see if I can find out more info.

<FONT COLOR="#800080" SIZE="1">[ January 22, 2002 12:59 PM: Message edited 2 times, by Argus ]</font>
post #6 of 21
I'm only relaying what I've been told by someone who saw the rescue taking place while he was riding the Armstong chair. If you got stuck in that area it would take time to raise alarm and for patrol to get there.

The Patrol at Alpental do an incredible job in some of the narliest terrain anywhere without the budget of a big resort.

<FONT COLOR="#800080" SIZE="1">[ January 22, 2002 01:00 PM: Message edited 1 time, by PNWBRIT ]</font>
post #7 of 21
Thread Starter 
PNWBRIT, thanks for agreeing but I kinda edited that part out of the post.
But the whole deal with that is the way the snow has been blowing around. It's loaded up in areas and he and his friends might have seen that as an opportunity to launch.
post #8 of 21
Bad week for boarders. One died in Fernie a couple days ago too. Could've just as easily been a skier. Be careful out there.
post #9 of 21
Argus - thanks I saw. It's just a shame when there is so much to do there especially with snow like yesterday that can be reached without going into a closed area.

Its this kind of accident that will get their backcountry access policy reversed.
post #10 of 21
also reminder.. don't ski out of bounds unless you are prepared! really prepared..

Saturday a couple of teen aged boarders decided to go Out of bounds from SugarBowl. At 4:00 after the resort closed. Rescue team had to be sent out after them.

(or this is the rumor that was going around)

My condolences to the family for their loss.

<FONT COLOR="#800080" SIZE="1">[ January 22, 2002 02:33 PM: Message edited 1 time, by dchan ]</font>
post #11 of 21
I don't suppose "extreme" snow riding has anything to do with tempting these unskilled, inexperienced young folks venturing into areas where they don't belong in the first place... naaaahhh. couldn't be. the guys in Pouter say it's not possible.
post #12 of 21
yeah gonzo I was reading this thread thinking about that other thread re extreme movies that may be encouraging people to go huck to their deaths.

Re suffocating: Up in Winter Park I watch the Resort Sport Network. They have been featuring stories about Utah: the beginning of Snowbird and Alta etc. The one I saw the other day was about the guy who invented the ski brake and releasable bindings. In 1966 he had the National Crash Test or somesuch in which he offerd money to people to use his bindings and purposefully crash into trees or get bad air hits which caused them to fall hard; one was to ski straight into a two foot high block of ice. The skis stopped but the skier kept going and was not injured.

Anyway, he is now working on improving and fostering the use of step in bindings for snowboards as they reduce the likelyhood of suffocation if you find yourself in a treewell etc. You can get your feet out of them much more easily.

Sounds though like this guy, if he dropped 30 feet, would not have been able to get himself out of whatever was suffocating him.
post #13 of 21
Terrible news. And it does illustrate oh so well the debates y'all have had about jumps and such.

Sixteen. Sheesh. Didn't the kid see any of those terrifying driver's ed films yet?

Also illustrates why my middle name is pokey. I'm the poster child for caution. Nothing like learning after age 25 to cool one's jets, or whenever one reaches the barrier of recognition of one's own mortality.

Oh, and thanks to Sugar for posting the map. Helped to understand the geography others had referred to. Hope the publicity doesn't hurt the area. Looks like a nice place.


<FONT COLOR="#800080" SIZE="1">[ January 22, 2002 04:04 PM: Message edited 1 time, by lisakaz ]</font>
post #14 of 21
So your a skier/rider. Let's see you need a 4x4 to drive up there,and then you slid down the side of a Mt. w/ a couple of boards strap to your feet in a snowstorm between trees at the speed of residential traffic. Ok,that seems like a relaxing sport.
post #15 of 21
Here's an article from the Seattle Times about the Alpental incident. It covers some of the same ground this thread has: http://seattletimes.nwsource.com/htm...oarder23m.html

I'm sure this will incite some discussion!
post #16 of 21
This kind of news report is exactly what worries me about the future of lift served backcountry access.

Someone dies after recklessly entering a closed area - the media promptly turns the story around to the risks of their backcountry polices. All we need now is a law suit to be brought and before you know it we'll all be stuck skiing courdroy.
post #17 of 21
I just finished reading that article in the Seattle Times. An interesting aside. The author and I grew up skiing together as kids and ended up fraternity brothers in college; we've skied places from Wisp to Whistler. Whether on three pins or alpine gear, the author is one of the smartest/strongest skiers I know -- really the kid got an 4.0 at Duke, and loves the backcountry.

It's just unfortunate that by definition, the only backcountry news that reaches the media ALWAYS involves a rescue or recovery. We never hear about that perfect run or epic powder days in the backcountry. My condolences to the family.

<FONT COLOR="#800080" SIZE="1">[ January 23, 2002 01:43 PM: Message edited 1 time, by woodpile ]</font>
post #18 of 21
Very true, but my point is that this shouldn't be a story about the backcountry. Isn't it about the risks of ignoring rules that are there to protect us and being prepared to accept the results when it goes wrong?

<FONT COLOR="#800080" SIZE="1">[ January 23, 2002 01:50 PM: Message edited 1 time, by PNWBRIT ]</font>
post #19 of 21
PNWBRIT, I hear you, the ropes are there for a reason. At Berthoud Pass, my favoirte area, they used to put a zillion warning signs at the access gates stating if you didn't have shovel, probe, and beacon to turn back.

It's too bad you can't save people from themselves.
post #20 of 21
Woodpile - the big difference is this happened in an area that's closed, permanently, for good reason. Not one where access allbeit with some restirctions or requirements is permitted.

This young man died needlessly, exactly as if he had driven a car while drunk or messed around with a firearm. The Times reporter should have covered the story in that manner rather than making the issue about the dangers of regulated access.

But I can't stop hoping that I didn't ride a chair or stand in line with this kid or even exchange a remark about how incredible the snow was while I was there on Monday morning

<FONT COLOR="#800080" SIZE="1">[ January 23, 2002 05:01 PM: Message edited 1 time, by PNWBRIT ]</font>
post #21 of 21
"Cliffs and streambeds not far from the base lodge"
"Recovery visible from Armstrong Express"
Makes me think he was over below the run called "Ingrids Inspiration" on the skiers left.
A nasty bit of topography that has NEVER been open due to the cliffs/hazards/terrain traps/lack of egress.
I've glanced over there on the ride up and it's no place I'd be willing to even attempt. Just no run out.
This was not a backcountry thing, just a plain "not where they should have been" fatality.
I agree that the the newpaper article ended up skewed. I think the editors wanted to make it a general "be carefull
out there folks" article and the message about the self inflicted nature of the incident got diluted.
The real message should have been "He made a stupid choice and paid for it. Consequences of your actions
and choices are your fault."
Sincere condolances to the family and friends.
Too bad the life-lesson on mortality came too hard and too late.
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