Tragically Aaron Kirtis, the Bend, Oregon native, has passed away. Kirtis was working as a guide for SEABA when he was caught and buried in a slide on Saturday. He passed away Monday night, two days after he was buried. The extent of injuries was not disclosed.
The incident occurred in the Kicking Horse Valley located to the West of Haines in a zone called Tele Bowl on Saturday morning. According to Adam Wissman, a photographer in the Haines area for over a decade who is familiar with SEABA teritory, Tele Bowl is a ‘workout zone’ where guides can evaluate their clients skiing ability. The zone has relatively manageable avalanche risks, making it a popular choice on days with greater avalanche risk. Kirtis was buried under 7 feet of avalanche debris and was recovered after being buried for 20 minutes. After he was recovered rescuers administered CPR until he arrived at the Providence Alaska Medical Center in Anchorage.
In the end, this is a tragic loss of a very experienced and passionate skier. As skiers we risk so much on a daily basis. Please keep the SEABA and Bend communities in mind.