The first avalanche injury/rescue of the season in North America that we know of occurred in Colorado on Saturday.
A solo skier was caught in an avalanche, injured, and partially buried in Summit County, CO. The skier was partially buried up to his waist in steep terrain on the east side of Bald Mountain and was unable to free himself from the snow.
“When I interviewed him in the hospital, he said he tumbled down head over heels and had never been fully buried. The first thing he said when we visited him in the hospital was that he was lucky to be alive and grateful we were able to come and get him.” – Brian Binge, Summit County Rescue Group’s mission coordinator
Summit Country Rescue Group (SCRG) received a call about 2pm on Saturday from the trapped skier reporting that he was injured and unable to free himself from avalanche debris.
“He was basically in the wrong place at the wrong time.” – Brian Binge
The trapped skier was freed and transported by Flight For Life helicopter to the St. Anthony Summit Medical Center. His several injuries are reported by Binge to not be life threatening. He was extracted at about 4:30pm, just at sundown.
SCRG responded to two other large avalanches on Sunday: one just west of Arapahoe Basin ski area and one at the top of Loveland Pass just an hour later. No injuries were reported.
All of these avalanches were large.
“These were large avalanches. Killer slides. And we’re lucky we didn’t have a fatality — we’re really lucky.” – CAIC forecaster Scott Toepfer
Lets all be careful out there, snow humans.
The first avalanche fatality of the year was reported from California today.