Two brothers were skiing together near Telluride, Colorado when they triggered two avalanches – each thought the other was dead.
The brothers, Alex and Brian Holmes, were skiing from Trout Lake to Ophir yesterday when Brian, 26, began a descent from the top of the Fatwa area near Waterfall Canyon when he triggered a “massive” avalanche.
Alex, 27, watched his brother get swept out of sight by the “massive slide” and feared the worst. When Alex started to ski down to search for his brother, he triggered a second avalanche. Alex decided it was too dangerous to search for his brother and doubled back to Trout Lake to find help, believing his brother was dead.
Brian had tumbled 1,000-feet down in the avalanche and was alive.
“Given the circumstances and nature of the slide, this skier is extremely fortunate.” – sheriff’s deputy Todd Rector, who led the rescue operation
The local sheriff’s office reports that Brian landed on his back and was mostly buried in snow, with only his face and one arm above the snow. He was able to dig himself out in about 15 minutes then began an hour-long search for his brother – who he also thought was dead.
As Brian was searching for Alex, Alex had contacted search and rescue, who launched a helicopter search team with Telluride ski patrollers and an avalanche dog.
Brian stopped searching for Alex after about an hour and made his way down to the town of Ophir and contacted local authorities.
The avalanche Brian was in is reported to have been very large and he is very lucky that his injuries are not life threatening.
“The San Juans in general can represent some of the most tenuous snow conditions on the continent.” – sheriff’s deputy Todd Rector, who led the rescue operation
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