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Avalanche death - Donner Summit

post #1 of 11
Thread Starter 
I have just heard some distressing news. Apparently, a skier/boarder (not sure which) was killed in an avalanche while skiing out of bounds from Sugar Bowl today.

I have heard he was skiing off the back side of Judah (a popular place to go). He was was with friends, who all were able to ski out of it.

I have not heard if they had any avalanche safety knowledge, beacons, shovels, etc.

All this fresh snow (3+ feet) is great for powder hounds, but potentially lethal for avalanche danger!

All you bears hitting the sierras this weekend, have a blast, be safe and be especially AV conscious!
post #2 of 11
Thanks for the update Serenity.

thats sad news indeed.
post #3 of 11
It is truly unfortunate that another avalanche has killed someone.

It is more sad if it was because they weren't prepared for avalance danger.
post #4 of 11
It was a boarder. the back side of Judah was closed most of the morning due to avalanche danger. Him and 2 other buddies were planning on making a run OB (I hear no beacons or other Aval equip) and while he was standing on top of a 30+ cornice it broke away. His buddies saw it happen and used their cell phones to call for help. I was waiting for a possible lesson at the bottom of the Judah Chair when it happened. They closed the lift and started sending search and rescue, patrol and dogs. This went on for some time and some of the instructors that had some BC training were about to head out to assist in the search when they found him. They were doing CPR on him when the ambulance left the resort and I didn't hear until around dinner time Friday evening that he didn't make it. Sad times and a reminder to be careful and by all means stack the deck in your favor.. Take the BC/Ava lessons if you plan to venture out. Listen to the patrols and warnings, don't ski un-prepared.

Actually one of our instructors pulled up Friday morning wearing a beacon from her early morning "warm ups". She just said, "Can't be too careful" Good advice.
post #5 of 11
Correction.. It was a skier that was out with some boarder friends. The skier was from San Francisco Apparently they were somewhat outdoors savy but according to the reports they were not prepared for a trip to BC, (no beacons, shovels or probes) One boarder rode the Avalanche out, One was ejected from the avalanche.

My prayers go to the family of the victim..

The SF Chronicle Writes
post #6 of 11
dchan,

they couldn't have been too "bc savy". USFS reported the avalanche danger as "considerable". If they were "savy" they would have known that below the 30-40" of new ,extremely wind blown snow was a very hard layer of frozen snow that makes an excellent slide plane. The cornice that gave way is on the lee side and with the winds that howled during the storm any lee side cornice was ripe for a slide. I've never taken any bc courses but with every death I read about i try to garner every little bit about the circumstances involved with each individual incident. Common sense should keep people out of the backcountry for a day or two after the storms of last week. And it doesn't surprise me that the victim was from the big city.
post #7 of 11
Looks like reporter is confusing avy/bc skills and skiing skills. Article said that his hand was sticking out - they would not even have to prob if they had beacons/avy training.

Just goes to show that skills have to be second nature in these situations, otherwise you will be just another badly shaken survivor who could not help your friend.


<FONT COLOR="#800080" SIZE="1">[ March 11, 2002 01:16 PM: Message edited 1 time, by eug ]</font>
post #8 of 11
DD.
Agreed. I was just relaying what the news was reporting here in SF.

Still sad
post #9 of 11
Eug is correct.

From the extremely basic things that I have learned about avi rescue while cat skiing, one person starts at the "last seen" spot and moves down the avi looking for visible clues.

If the guy's hand was visible it is unconscienable that he died from asphyxiation.

<FONT COLOR="#800080" SIZE="1">[ March 12, 2002 02:25 PM: Message edited 1 time, by worldfishnski ]</font>
post #10 of 11
Thread Starter 
I got a little more details of this incident which should help clarify things.

Apparently, the trio was not planning to ski/ride out of bounds (down the backside).
They had ventured there to use the outdoor facilities, and thought they were a safe distance back from the edge of the cornice. When the cornice gave away the skier was not able to get out of the slide, while the 2 boarders were thrown clear. No hand was sticking out. The victim was recovered within 30 mintues of being down. Still no word on what the cause of death was, suffocation or internal injuries.
post #11 of 11
Although this version may be true, my internal BS alarm is going off. Since when do three men go use the outdoor bathroom together? I also think that this sounds like a better excuse for being out of bounds (this may be a bit of revisionist history). Nevertheless, they were still out of bounds.

I don't mean to be harsh, it is truly unfortunate and I feel sorry for the family and the surviving friends. Unless they made these statements shortly after the incident, I wonder if they are not looking to make the situation more of a true accident then a blatant disregard of The Code.
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