Professional freeskier JT Holmes from Squaw Valley, CA was fully buried by an avalanche near Truckee, CA last Thursday while skiing with friends. While under 3-feet snow, JT lost consciousness.
JT did not need CPR but need need help being evacuated to safety.
Fortunately, the group he was with was experienced in avalanche rescue and were able to extract him in time to save his life.
JT was with a group of 8 at the time of the avalanche skiing near Donner Peak on a northern aspect in complex terrain around 7,400-feet.
“I got flushed through, went downhill with the avalanche. The second wave of the avalanche buried me.
I feel very shaken up. I feel very grateful I was with a team of very prepared individuals, I feel grateful we discussed avalanche protocol in the morning, practiced with our beacons.” – JT Holmes told the Reno Gazzette Journal
“Persistent weak layers in the form of buried surface hoar exist throughout the forecast region in some areas on N-NE-E aspects near and below treeline and possibly on NW and SE aspects. These weak layers are now buried anywhere from 1.5′ to 4′ deep in the snowpack. We have experienced a large avalanche cycle on these weak layers over the last 2 weeks. Many of the suspect slopes have already avalanched.” – Sierra Avalanche Center
Please be careful out there.
Always check the avalanche forecast before heading out, make sure you’re educated and experienced, and travel in the backcountry with educated, experienced partners.