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Skier Dies at Mount Baker

post #1 of 25
Thread Starter 

      A 49 year old father skiing with his two sons was killed at Mount Baker ski area yesterday.  He was skiing a steep area called "The Rat Trap". He suffered head trauma in a fall.  The ski areas around here have been very icy of late, so I am not sure if that contributed to the accident.

post #2 of 25

www.bellinghamherald.com/102/story/800521.html

 

What a shame.  Not sure why he thought it would be safer to be on icy steeps without skis on.

post #3 of 25

What a horrifying situation for the boys.

 

I feel for them. 

 

The dad was looking for safe passage for the kids.

 

Shame.

post #4 of 25

Thats sad.

 

Its seems like theres been alot of deaths this year that may have been able to be prevented. Maybe its time to invest in a helmet...  :flamesuit_on:

post #5 of 25

Very sad. Why wouldn't you have a helmet when skiing steep terrain with rocks?

post #6 of 25

That's devestating... I really feel for his sons and the rest of his family.  Very sad... I wonder how he and his sons got onto such dangerous terrain... but it doesn't change the situation.  I hope his sons are well looked after.

post #7 of 25
Quote:
Originally Posted by Tog View Post

 

Very sad. Why wouldn't you have a helmet when skiing steep terrain with rocks?


 

This is so very tempting to get into the once a year helmet doesn't save every life debate. But the real point here is the tragedy itself.

 

More than the helmet issue would be to ask why they were skiing in unfamiliar, expert terrain.

 

I feel so bad for those boys.

post #8 of 25

Gut wrenching sad.

 

My thoughts are with the boys and family and friends.

 

There is a lesson learned here.

post #9 of 25
Quote:
Originally Posted by Lars View Post

 

More than the helmet issue would be to ask why they were skiing in unfamiliar, expert terrain.

 

I feel so bad for those boys.

Even the wittiest people with lots of common sense do stupid things sometimes. There is no real why other than we are just humans!!! So sad that these were the consequences for these folks!!!
 

post #10 of 25

so out of curiosity, what would you advise if one was caught up in this situation?- frankly, i think i may have tried the same thing -although i may have been on my butt trying to get down.

post #11 of 25

I've just got to question anyone who trusts the edges of their ski boots more than their skis.

 

WTF were they doing there in the first place? When you have limited abilities, you don't go exploring near double black runs or tree runs. You look at your trail map carefully and stay where your abilities match the runs you attempt to ski.

 

never, never take your skis off and try to walk down without crampons.

post #12 of 25

i understand what you're saying, but i don't think i'm the only one who's ever gotten lost on an unfamiliar mountain. again, are you suggesting that one try to ski down a slope they don't think they can handle- i'm not trying to get anyone riled up. i'm just trying to elicit a constructive response so that one can avoid this kind of thing in the future.

post #13 of 25

This is really a subject for a new thread if you would like to start one.

 

My point is that you have absolutely no control on a steep slope in ski boots.

 

Yes, you'd be better off leaving your skis on and linking a few turns at a time, then stopping. Then repeating.

 

Better yet, if you have a cell phone that has a signal, dial 911 and wait for ski patrol.

post #14 of 25

The guy was a local.  He went out-of-bounds to a known steep area with rocks & trees in very treacherous conditions with two kids.  I feel very sorry for his sons for having to witness what they did and for his family but I question his judgment of taking a 10 year old and 14 year old where he did on very icy slopes.

post #15 of 25
Quote:
Originally Posted by Lars View Post

 

I've just got to question anyone who trusts the edges of their ski boots more than their skis.

 

never, never take your skis off and try to walk down without crampons.


 

Heck, I like going up in crampons, but I hate going down.  It is so easy to snag a plant leg and trip.

 

Sideslipping on skis feels better than anything short of roped rapel to me.

post #16 of 25
Sometimes you have to climb back up and go out a different way. Feel very bad for the family.
post #17 of 25
Quote:
Originally Posted by Rio View Post

 

The guy was a local.  He went out-of-bounds to a known steep area with rocks & trees in very treacherous conditions with two kids.  I feel very sorry for his sons for having to witness what they did and for his family but I question his judgment of taking a 10 year old and 14 year old where he did on very icy slopes.

The area the guy was in was in bounds according to the article.  Do you have other information?

 

Baker is very strangely put together and you can come up on a cliff while skiing what seems to be very mild terrain; then suddenly it is not.  I'm not familiar with a place called the Rat Trap, but there are many such places here.

 

It has been really icy with little new snow in weeks.  Uncontrollable slides over a cliff are a very real possibility after a fall if you put yourself in the wrong place. 

post #18 of 25

From an acquaintenance of mine who lives near Baker, the guy who fell was an expert skier who knew the mountain very well. His kids were also very good skiers and had skied that area before. When he saw that the snow conditions were bad, he took off his skis to try to boot pack out and to find a way out for his kids. 

 

We all have made bad calls during our lives and most of the time we skate through. Unfortunately in this case, his luck ran out.  Being a father of two young boys, my heart breaks for the family.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

post #19 of 25

 My heart is sick about this.  So very sad. 

post #20 of 25
Quote:
Originally Posted by Posaune View Post

 

The area the guy was in was in bounds according to the article.  Do you have other information?


 

An updated article saying he went out-of-bounds:

 

www.bellinghamherald.com/102/story/801356.html

 

(I read another sad article while checking the Bellingham paper.  Lowell Elementary School ,where I attended kindergarden through 2nd grade, has been shuddered.)

post #21 of 25
Quote:
Originally Posted by Rio View Post
 

An updated article saying he went out-of-bounds:

 

www.bellinghamherald.com/102/story/801356.html

 

Maybe they updated that article since you posted it.  This is what it says now:

 

David J. Fisher, 49, was with his 14-year-old son in a steep part of
the ski area between the North Face and Chute runs in the Heather
Meadows base area, marketing co-director Amy Trowbridge said.

 

That's consistent with some info I saw on turns-all-year.com stating where Rat Trap is.

post #22 of 25
While the Herald put "Out Of Bounds" in the headline, if you read farther the area was not closed.  It was roped off with signs telling you to ski at your own risk and that it is hazardous.  These ropes and signs are all over the place at Baker.  When a section of the ski area is closed they put up "Closed" signs and they enforce them if mother nature doesn't do it first.
 
The section of the ski area from North Face to the Chute is a series of cliffs with some quite steep chutes that are skiable depending on the amount of snow pack.  This year the pack is low so they are pretty sketchy.  Add to that the poor, icy conditions and a slide could easily be uncontrolled.
 
It is very, very sad.
 
P.S.
Rio, Lowell is closed for an earthquake upgrade.  It may remain closed for a while because of the state budget problems.  I don't think it is being slated for permanent closure.  I live in the Lowell attendance area.
post #23 of 25

Lucky writes: "Sometimes you have to climb back up and go out a different way."

 

Amen.

 

post #24 of 25

West coast ice can be brutal - soft wet snow that freeze into rough, bone rattling chunk.

 

Baker's layout can be confusing, and dangerous.  As Pousane indicated, you can get cliffed-out on an approach that appears tame.

 

Limited visibility can also be an issue, although I'm sure it was in this case.  Once, I got trapped in deep snow on a cliff in heavy fog, and was lucky to find a route down (had to hike up).

 

You have to exercise more caution skiing at Baker, than at big tourist resorts, like here in CO.

 

A sad situation.

 

post #25 of 25

I think I know where that area is, and was there (with a much better snowpack) in December.  This is what the signs look like:  You do have to duck a rope, but it's still in-bounds.  There were some good sized cliffs / no-fall zones...  I definitely would not have wanted to take my skis off.

 

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