It is with regret to report that a male skier is in critical condition this evening after getting caught in a local avalanche. The skier had been out backcountry skiing in Ward Canyon today. Although Thursday’s avalanche rating was downgraded to Considerable (3 out of 5) after being rated HIGH (4 out of 5) yesterday, terrain selection remains a paramount concern for current backcountry users. Observations made today from Bliss Peak on the West Shore showed considerable settling of the snowpack compared to Wednesday’s observations made from neighboring Jakes Peak. However, the weaknesses highlighted in the most recent State of the Backcountry report continue to be prevalent.
Winds remained high today continuing to transport snow and further form wind slabs. Blowing and falling snow continued as of 5 pm today at the tops of all the major West Shore peaks. Accidents happen to the best of us and no further details are currently available regarding how the avalanche was set off. Please send our backcountry brother some good vibes for a successful recovery and make sure to be safe out there.
From the Sierra Sun:
TAHOE CITY, Calif. — A skier injured in a backcountry avalanche was rescued by regional emergency personnel Thursday afternoon from a remote and rugged location off the West Shore of Lake Tahoe.
The male skier was transported by ground ambulance at about 5:45 p.m. Thursday to Tahoe Forest Hospital in Truckee, where he is in critical condition, according to the Placer County Sheriff’s Office.
The skier was with two others when the avalanche occurred. He was found about 500 vertical feet below Stanford Rock in Ward Canyon, located off Highway 89, a few miles from Alpine Meadows Ski Resort.
The skiers had not been on Alpine Meadows Ski Resort property; initial reports indicated the skier was near the backside of the resort and that he may have skied out of bounds prior to the avalanche.
You can read the rest of the report here.