Kirkwood, CA. photo: actionimagery.com

An in-bounds avalanche occurred at Kirkwood ski resort in South Lake Tahoe, California today, March 18th, 2012.  

IN-BOUNDS AVALANCHE DETAILS:

- Avalanche occurred in Sentinel Bowl at 2:14pm

- One skier was trapped by the avalanche

- A friend of the trapped skier was able to escape the avalanche at contact ski patrol and report his trapped friend

- “Dalzell [Kirkwood spokesman Michael Dalzell] said Chair 6 was closed as soon as the avalanche was reported. Crews worked in the area to test the snow stability, with the all clear coming at 4:33pm.” – laketahoenews.net

- The injured skier was transported to Barton Memorial Hosptial

- More details about the extent of skier’s injuries will be reported on by the Alpine Country Sheriff’s Dept. tomorrow.

- Avalanche danger in the Kirkwood area was rated as Moderate today

Kirkwood avalanche on 99 steps triggered by ski patrol avalanche control bomb from 2006 when Kirkwood got 838” of snow

KIRKWOOD SNOWFALL THIS WEEK:

- 68 inch storm total

- 52-60 inches of new snow in the past 48 hours

- 12-16 inches of new snow in the past 24 hours

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104 Comments

  1. Miles Clark says:

    Scary stuff. I hope he’s okay.

    Reply
    • Ex ski area worker says:

      To the Author
      While I believe in freedom of the press, I think that it would be a nice idea to delete this strain. Ski Patrollers work very hard to keep us safe.

      Reply
    • chrispy says:

      R.I.P. To everyone who has died doing what they love. Just had an inbounds slide today at the wood. Hope all are O.K.
      However…

      My first pass at Kirkwood was 1988. Kirkwood will always be Squaw Valley’s BITCH!
      Ha ha! Lol.

      Reply
  2. uncle freddie says:

    Wow–welcome to a crash course in strict liability, Vail Resort Corp!
    I’ve skied Kirkwood more than any other in CA, and the ridge of the sentinel bowl is extremely easy access (they run a cat on the west side of it) for ski patrol. Given a) total storm accumulation and b) the very obvious risk of avalanche after the warm-up early in the week and the general weakness of the underlying pack, I’m stunned avy control didn’t work that aspect until it released…prayers that the skier is okay.

    Reply
    • For Real, I know that exact place too! That is strange that there wasn’t a bomb thrown on that. …

      Reply
    • Really?? says:

      A) Its arm chair quarterbacks like you that always have 20/20 hindsight.
      B) You are making many generalizations about “what” happened.
      C) You’re probably the same guy who skis around with a beacon, or a probe, or a shovel, but never a combination of all three. Better yet, any knowledge of how to use any one of them correctly.
      D) Nobody cares how much you ski there. Way to pre justify your stupid fucking comments.
      E) I hope the trapped victim is okay.
      F) This is a good lesson to personal responsibility when skiing in the mountains. Just cause you’re at a resort, doesn’t mean your always “safe.”

      Reply
    • corey welsh says:

      it’s pretty bold to second guess the patrollers. i counted ten bomb holes in between sentinel (groomer) and glove rock yesterday. i have the utmost faith and trust in kirkwood patrol and there is no doubt in my mind that they did everything they could to prevent this.

      best wishes to the injured for a speed recovery.

      Reply
    • KW Veteran says:

      I was at Kirkwood all day Sunday and rode Sentinel very shortly before the slide. Patrol was throwing bombs out there all day and finally got Sentinel open at maybe 1:45. The snow seemed very well consolidated to me; I rode lots of very steep stuff all day, a lot of it untracked, and never triggered even much slough. I was in Sentinel no earlier than 2PM . . . scary stuff

      Reply
  3. My beacon has been packed away for so long…. Need to put new batteries in there for sure.

    Reply
    • all mine says:

      dont sweat the negative votes Pat, the tahoe ski patrollers are notorious for trolling this site kicking anyone who would dare question them… or dare admit lax attitude with a beacon (gasp!)

      Reply
  4. Jerry says:

    Wait for the report! Plenty of bombs and that area was closed for a long time before this happened.

    Reply
  5. Skier666 says:

    All I know is the slide was past Sentinel and past Rabbit Runs on the way to Palisades. So a fair distance from the Sentinel Run people usually ski.

    Reply
  6. JonnyF says:

    With the season thus far…. Come on.. You need to be more proactive.

    Reply
  7. Peter says:

    Wow! I was in snetinel when it opened. shit scary stuff

    Reply
  8. Glass half full says:

    I have had a pass at Kirkwood for 20 years, lived on the hill and worked there for 4 years. I promise you that the patrollers at the wood are second to none. I’m my experience there I have seen more large and potentially dangerous slides break loose in bounds. That mountain is steep, very steep, with no mid mountain plateau found in most resorts in the world. That place goes straight up, and does not hesitate to hand out a beat-down. They throw more avy bombs on a pow day than any other resort in CA, it’s a dangerous place and that is why we love it. Keep your mouth shut if you don’t know what it takes for that mountain to go through snow safety. Just because a bomb doesn’t release a slope does not mean that it won’t go after 300 skiers and riders have been through a zone. Kirkwood is as close to in bounds or lift accessed backcountry as you willfund in tahoe. Be safe out there, trust when patrol closes a zone, and have fun! Thoughts and good vibes to the guy caught today. It’s not safe out there this season. Let’s all be as smart as possible so we can live to ski or ride another day. RIP Benny, Jim Jack, and all the other members of the tribe taken from us this year.

    Reply
  9. uncle freddie says:

    this is a really worrisome post.
    The fact that you say “rarely” (as opposed to never) seems a very bad admission–legally. It means that you know that there is a history of major slide activity, and yet may not have treated it as a serious problem–despite some of the worst avalanche conditions of the season.
    But your real problems start here, and I’m stunned that you put this in print: “Snow safety was done in that area before it was opened in the morning. It was snowing hard and blowing all day at Kirkwood. Patrol spends days like these ski cutting avalanches in the most active start zones.” So a) you did the avy control early, before the heavy snow and cornice-building wind came in; and b) have now acknowledged in print that conditions were ripe for escalating avalanche danger, but you didn’t do follow-on snow safety. Or c) if you did do follow-on, (patrol “ski cutting avalanches”), YOU FAILED TO CLOSE THE TERRAIN BELOW THE SLIDE CROWN.
    Uh-oh.

    Reply
    • uncle freddie says:

      KM–
      Thanks. I’m part of the brotherhood. Don’t have your experience, certainly, but did patrol for four years.
      But to be clear, my “inane argument” had nothing to do with proper ski area operations, and everything to do with public relations and brand/crisis management–which I’ve done for a lot longer than you’ve been running a patrol program.
      You really screwed up here, pal. I genuinely hope it doesn’t cost you.

      Reply
      • cwilliams says:

        one option would have been to thank Kevin for providing providing some details about the slide (not all the details, but some insight). Another option would be be a douche. Freddie, glad to see you choose the latter. Please share with us which brand/crisis management company you work with so we can all flock to your infinite wisdom

        Reply
    • Anonymous says:

      to uncle freddie, it’s called a liability release form that even you signed when you got your pass.

      shit happens in the mountains,

      if you want it to be disneyland than I suggest you start fuccing driving to Anaheim a.s.a.p.

      Reply
  10. Miles Clark says:

    Thank you very much for this information. I’m going to publish it in the post if that is acceptable to you. Thanks, miles

    Reply
    • uncle freddie says:

      Miles–do what you want with it, but let’s agree on one thing: I haven’t posted information, but rather an observation about what, personally, I think was an extremely ill-advised post for a patroller to make on a public web site. Lawyers—especially of the personal injury/wrongful death ilk–are a ruthless lot and will twist whatever a defendant says in ways that he probably didn’t mean.
      One of the basics of crisis management is information centralization and control: get your facts straight, develop your talking points, say as little as possible (but absolutely offer no material facts about anything that creates culpability), and never EVER let front-line personnel talk to the media. All messaging on this should have been handled out of corporate, and failure to obey that basic tenet is the sort of thing that gets people fired.
      It’s a tragedy for everyone involved, but let’s hope the skier pulls through and this becomes a minor out-of-court settlement and not devastating loss for his family.

      Reply
    • Ex ski area worker says:

      While freedom of speech is our right, I think this strain would be a good one to delete. Thank you for your consideration.

      Reply
  11. uncle freddie says:

    Guys–
    Just to be clear, I deeply respect the patrollers at Kirkwood. Been skiiing there since Paul Ruff was bartending at Cantina Los Tres Hombres and mashing bumps off Janeks in his raspberry powder suit. I would never impugn the ability, integrity and devotion of the patrol staff.
    This situation has nothing to do with the guys on the hill. It just looks hideously bad from PR/optical standpoint. In the end, liability for mountain operations accrues to resort ownership, not snow safety staff.
    So let’s be clear: I’m not point fingers; just pointing out that there is likely a big judgment out there waiting in the wings for Vail Resorts

    Reply
    • uncle freddie says:

      Yeah, that’s good. Ad hominem attacks. That’s gonna look really good in court, and at your next performance review. I won’t be the one who forwards it to management, but you can bet dollars to dog sh*t that they are gonna read it.

      Reply
    • Jerry says:

      So shut the Fuck up and “as you put it, stop helping the lawyers” you dumb shit. You are doing way more damage that the Truth!!!!

      Reply
    • jpw says:

      “deeply respect the patrollers at Kirkwood.”
      First, uncle freddie, you second guess the statement that a lot of us have been waiting to hear & then you go & contradict (contradicked) yourself w/ your lame backpedalling & THEN you go dropping names? Do you have any idea how ridiculous you sound??? Any iota of a freaking clue?

      Reply
      • uncle freddie says:

        JPW–all due respect, but you missed the point from the beginning: no indictment of patrol, just an analysis of how this is likely to play out. And BTW, FU. Paul was friend mine, and even tho it’s been twenty years, it was a loss none of took lightly–then or now.
        So how I sound to you is really not anywhere near the top of my list of cares and concerns.

        Reply
        • Jerry says:

          Paul”s accident was a Marketing/Mountain Dew fuck up. Had nothing to do with Patrol.
          You are not very wise for being so wise. Paul RIP…You were a hero to many, including a bunch of athletes at the Ski Foundation!

          Reply
    • noneedforaname says:

      Let’s be clear. Your opinion is worthless, your attitude is shit, and you’ve contributed nothing but annoying second guessing and half-baked legal “theory”. Hell, im not even sure vail technically owns kirkwood yet.

      Moron.

      Reply
  12. Sean says:

    when Unofficial comments start being positive or accurate it will snow for 30 days straight and not stop. but, that won’t ever happen.

    Reply
  13. RodeHaus says:

    Someone got taken at the ranch today.

    Reply
  14. Nuthon says:

    Uncle Freddie
    Oh i am awe of your years of skiing prowess & watching real skiers from afar. I feel sorry for you. Do you always cunt up the conversations your in or is it just the ones you have no idea about.

    Reply
  15. Nuthon says:

    Thanks for the heads up Kevin, & thanks again to all the patrollers who worked thier asses off throughout the storm so the rest of us could play

    Reply
  16. uncle freddie says:

    Yeah, I caused the avalanche and then went on a public web site with an un-vetted position statement on a high-liability claim. I’m the dumb one.

    Reply
    • Jerry says:

      Yes you are. You have done done more damage Kevin’s response than what would have occured otherwise. You should made your case and shut up. We would have had an ounce of respect for that, as opposed to none.

      Reply
      • uncle freddie says:

        Glad to be the beneficiary of your expertise, Jerry, though it clearly doesn’t include grammar, syntax or spell-check. But just so you can keep deepening that bottomless font of wisdom: liability cases involve extensive discovery and research, including of social media and web publishing sites. Whatever damage was done to KM’s future occurred the moment he hit the “submit comment” button.

        regarding KM’s “response”, I honestly wouldn’t worry. He clearly has plenty of defenders here who are circling the wagons. That says he’s a good guy, which I never doubted. I’ve met very few patrol directors who weren’t solid to the core–thankless job, as we seem to be finding out here.
        In the end, don’t lose sight of what happened today: a rider got badly hurt, a resort may be held liable and lot of pain is the net result.
        And just so you have some more fodder to play with after I sign off, I’ll admit that I am no where near the level of legal expert or attack-attorney that gets retained by plaintiffs in this cases. I may have pointed out what could happen if things go the wrong way, but at best I’m just the first one.

        Reply
        • Jerry says:

          Where did you patrol?

          Sorry about spell check but hey, at least I am not try to help bury someone.

          Only dig him out. I don’t know KM, but expected you to deflect to others.

          It worked!

          Where did you Patrol?

          Reply
        • Jumoke says:

          The ole’ syntax, spelling, grammar trifecta insult. When used, one must make sure to not have a single mistake in their own writing. Unfortunately, in paragraph one, it is stated that “liability cases involve extensive discovery and research, including of social media and web publishing sites” (uncle freddie, 1). The use of “of” is incorrect and should be removed. The rules of capitalization should never be forgotten, however, they were in in paragraph two. One must also remember that contractions weaken papers and must never be used. This post is riddled with them. To strengthen this message, it should first be revised and then, upon completion, be reposted.

          Reply
  17. Skimoore says:

    Kirkwood is a mountain ideal for avalanches. Ski Patrol is there to improve safety but never can give 100% safety. Skiing off-piste carries a risk, in or out of bounds. Talk of lawsuits is ridiculous, skiers themselves should be conscious that there is always a risk and they must take precautions especially on powder days with significant wind. In Europe, if you’re off-piste it is generally not controlled like in the US and personal responsibility is key. Ski with buddies, probe, shovel and beacon and take all the precautions, but when you’re in a slide, the last thought should be suing the mountain. I have been in an in-bounds slide in les trois vallées, and I do not blame lack of controls for the slide.

    Reply
  18. My stash stays untouched says:

    Kevin, thanks for the post.
    Uncle Freddie, we get your point that until the details are finalized, nobody should speak of what happened and when the info is released, it should only be released by the PR department.

    Now for my rant. I am greatfull that the information was I went in several weeks later and was caught in a slough which pinned me under a deadfall and was buried with the exception of one hand. The area I was in was open. This was an accident and nothing more. I feel that we all understand what the risk is when terrain and snowpack meet to make dangerous conditions. The responsibility is ours to make sure we stay safe, ski patrol just does a phenomanal job of making it safer.

    I pray the skier has a quick and full recovery and his family gets through this. Kudos to those who found him.

    and yes, I do ride and ski inbounds and out with all of my gear since I was buried.

    Reply
  19. Jerry says:

    Uncle Freddie—Where did you patrol?

    Reply
  20. Opimian says:

    Uncle Freddy …. You’re an asshole.

    Reply
  21. Hairfarmr says:

    So sorry to hear Kev…. I know the hard work you ALL put in to snow and on mtn. safety and count KW ski patrol as some of the best in California… Screw the naysayers , I know what you go through ,Thanks for all of your efforts
    sincerly “Face v Tree 2008″

    Reply
  22. Glass half full says:

    Much respect to Kevin for giving a detailed, first person description of what really happened. All of us use this site for information as well as entertainment, allowing local patrollers a forum to further educate the skiing public without being chastised or threatened with legal jargon will do nothing but make our days both in bounds and out of bounds safer. Thanks again KM for an accurate account of what really happened. “everything gets around Tahoe but the truth”

    Reply
    • uncle freddie says:

      GHF-
      Sorry if what I said threatened you–or anyone else. Obviously, I touched a nerve for a lot of people here, and I should have been far more sensitive with my original post. So mea culpa and lesson learned.
      that said, this is a public forum. I hope that, after things cool down a bit, there can be a higher tolerance for dissenting opinion and differing viewpoints.
      I’m sure everyone here loves Kirkwood, and those who know KM hold him in high regard. But there is a very real chance that this situation, if it becomes a legal proceeding, will be reviewed (and the outcome determined) by people who don’t share the prevailing outlook I’ve read here this evening.
      Good night.

      Reply
  23. Andrew says:

    Good to hear the rider is ok. As for the ski patrol, I trust them completely when I ski Kirkwood. andrewjhewett.wordpress.com

    Reply
  24. squawbble says:

    uncle freddie, you are an asshole

    Reply
  25. Tahoeboy says:

    For what it’s worth, sentinel nor palisades was open in the am. My last run was just after noon and it was still closed. Patrol was over there for an unusually long time today setting more charges than normal. Hats off to them for all the hard work they do to get the mountain open.

    Reply
  26. Anonymous says:

    reading this irritates me a lot, at every ski resort the world over patrol turn up day in day out to do the best job they can to make the hill as safe as possible. unfortunately though, mountains by their nature, as much as you can try to second guess them are un predictable, and unfortunately accidents do happen. what has been posted is nothing more than an account of what happened, trying to suggest anything more is just crazy and completely out of order. from the sounds of it patrol did everything possible and then reacted properly and in good time. i wish the skier involved a speedy recovery

    Reply
  27. Heloise says:

    I’m embarrassed for Uncle Freddie. Sitting around posting smack on a website for hours on the morning of one of the best pow days of the year. (Yes, I see the date and times of your posts.) Dude you need to get out more. Talk about armchair quarterbacks. You have thoroughly made a fool of yourself.

    Reply
    • ride higher says:

      No shit, where do these assholes come from? This guy probably patrolled a landfill hill in Minnesota, and the only slide he ever saw there was his dignity.

      Reply
  28. Heloise says:

    Okay my bad–I see now U.F. posted at night. But still, dude, you have a lot to learn about presenting information in a way that others will listen or find you credible.

    Reply
  29. JayT says:

    The only thing worse than armchair QB’s are armchair lawyers. Please, just STFU everyone and wait for the incident report.

    Reply
  30. come on freddie says:

    you are not even a man to post your name here.
    you probably dreamed that you were a patrol one day.
    by the ideas on your posts, one can tell you don’t even know what brotherhood means.
    re-read your posts, even you will realize how much of a coward you were,
    coming back from everything you wrote.
    ski patrol personnel is much, much more of a man that will ever be.
    sit tight behind your desk and see the world through your fat belly and fucked up eyes.
    I have found not only one, but a few grammar mistakes throughout your posts.
    please do everybody a favor, get your self a life away from the skiing industry.
    you have created a lot of unneeded harsh feelings from an already tough situation. congratulations, you got the center stage of the situation.

    Reply
  31. Mike says:

    So hard to resist the pow above traverses. I mean how often do you look up and wonder if those few untracked turns are worth the hike? That ’06 picture is scary to say the least (http://www.mediasrvr.com/himg/620/465/true/10/unofficialnetworks.com/wp-content/uploads/2012/03/eced8f343-620×465.jpg )

    Reply
  32. rico says:

    As i’m am laying here after having my achilles surgerically repaired ( I know someone would remark about the time of this post), i have to say that after skiing 50 years at Tahoe, the “suits” have taken a lot of the fun out of skiing. I remember when “The Face” at Sierra Ski Ranch was about 20 yds wide and bumps were 3 ft high. But then someone got hurt (skiing has it’s risks, right?) and now it’s wider than I 80 and just a clogged. Amerika has gotten to the point where it’s easier to sue than to be responsible for our actions. We ski for the fun, the rush, and yes, the risk. I know it, and i’m pretty most of you know it. Heavy sigh.
    BTW, i have attached a couple more incidents that have taken place this weekend, including a death at The Ranch, oh, i mean Sierra-at-Tahoe Snowboard Park.

    http://www.cbsnews.com/8301-201_162-57399961/2-dead-1-injured-in-calif-skiing-incidents/
    Peace

    Reply
  33. Snowmonster says:

    Uncle Freddie, your legal jargon fails to represent the big picture. The 1st being inherant risk (self explanatory and all over ). The 2nd being duty of care, patrol did their duty and worked the area at the commencment of the ski day. The 3rd, reasonable person test, would the average ski resort perfrom the same actions that Kirkwood did that day? And the 4th being the kicker, Act of God. In this case the foreseeable results of unforseeable causes could only be argued against Vail if patrol did not do any avy control at all.

    In addition, did the injured party take reasonable to care to protect himself other than a helmet? Avy gear or even a Recco transponder?

    Who’s to say this skiier is going to sue anyways. I know for a fact if I was injured at a ski resort due to an avalanche, I would most definitley not because I assume the risk for utility. Therefore, I must pay the piper when it’s all done.

    Reply
  34. miriam says:

    I agree with uncle freddie on only one point. I also hope Vail resorts realizes what they have acquired and the amount of responsibility they have assumed with the purchase of their first Class A ski resort. Mr. freddie’s know it all ego, attitude and profession are why places like Kirkwood are becoming extinct.

    I was among the masses at Kirkwood yesterday. Patrol and mountain operations had their hands full dealing with the new less experienced customers. I do not remember a weekend powder day that was such a cluster of people. I sincerely hope that this is not a sign of things to come. I will truly miss my memorable powder days at Kirkwood. Mountain operations will learn to better manage and try to educate an inexperienced public.

    I sincerely hope management does not see Mr. Moynihan’s posts as a violation of any social media or other policy in their handbook. Mr. Moynihan’s comments are only a reflection of the commitment he and his coworkers have for their position and responsibility when wearing the white cross on any given day. His intention was only to share the truth and for that I say, “Thank You Kevin” but I’m sure you’ve learned your lesson and will not be posting so late at night after such a tough weekend. You are now a member of the corporate world where PR and spin doctors rules the roost. I have no doubt that the area that slid yesterday was competently bombed and ski cut prior to opening but I was also beeping yesterday. Shit happens.

    I agree with another’s comment, Kirkwood’s Professional Ski Patrol is second to none, extremely professional and should not be undermined by budget cuts. The fact that the previous management felt they could save a few bucks in Ski Patrol’s budget by bringing in National Volunteers to fill the voids is a HUGE risk to customer safety at Kirkwood. If Vail is planning on making any changes at Kirkwood, I hope one thing is being considered. I hope they plan on investing heavily in their current professional patrol program. The men, women (and dogs) of Kirkwood ski patrol are to be commended on their commitment and experience and given every opportunity to continue to be leaders in their field. They risk their lives every day they head off in unimaginable conditions to stabilize a sierra snowpack and open it to unknowing customers.

    Reply
    • NoNeedForAName says:

      Are you seriously trying to imply that within weeks of Vail announcing they purchased kirkwood – that suddenly the cluster of idiots is a direct result?

      I mean, it couldn’t be that with the shit snow this year more idiots than usual picked this weekend for their big trip up from the bay area. That might, I don’t know – make sense.

      Reply
  35. Rich Strohl says:

    March 31, 1982, North America’s largest in bounds avalanche accident. Report here:
    http://www.avalanche.org/moonstone/TAR/avi%20review%20articles/Alpine%20Meadows%20-%20The%20Story.htm
    Bottom line. Alpine prevailed in the ensuing legal battle, though they did have to pay some settlement fees to put an end to the litigious “hang fire”. No patrollers were fired or lost their job, just some killed in the line of duty (heroes, RIP). Read and learn from history. Word
    One synopsis of the legal process of the Alpine Trial, here (skip to the summary discussion on the last page if the details are to much for you):
    https://docs.google.com/viewer?a=v&q=cache:GHZmnoymG5cJ:iahs.info/redbooks/a162/iahs_162_0665.pdf+Alpine+MEadows+avalanche+lawsuit&hl=en&gl=us&pid=bl&srcid=ADGEESgXzBpSrxG5x9Hs6UK7mmanKfT6xbAoPZWSyvvhCocQt_RZhn_ReToIy5jNueNQc_Qi8E_LXRNpOSzccsOqq9iP3I1PAG3mo5Z02pLxAdJVrfFvsRkKd0l7l1LI1vfvia9Ouvk2&sig=AHIEtbSS1wPr3MCiRq0lPq_SsoC8YcQTDA&pli=1

    Reply
  36. Morphious says:

    Uncle Freddy go F yourself!

    Reply
  37. NoNeedForAName says:

    I love unofficial, but the idiocy in the comments really drives me up a wall lately.

    One minute everybody bitches about the corporate take-over of Tahoe.
    The next people are throwing out legal advice because somebody didn’t follow what they *think* is proper corporate protocal, and didn’t go through the correct PR channels.

    Really? Are you people serious with this crap? I hope you all keep getting snow in Tahoe. Maybe some time on the mountain will loosen your panties a bit. Never seen a group of people so eager to bitch for the sake of bitching.

    Nevermind that somebody got hurt – and the only thing people seem to care about is legal proceedings that have NOTHING TO DO with you.

    On that note – hope the guy is alright. It sounds like he got banged up pretty good.

    Reply
    • anonymous says:

      the real Tahoe skiers aren’t the ones bringing the negativity, nor do they frequent this site as much as these whiners. we are out skiing.

      the guys on here bitching, arguing, and criticizing are armchair quarterbacks that enjoy carefully formulating an opinion, editing it, reediting it until it makes them sound knowledgeable, and posting it from their desk job because they really want to sound like, be, or have even convinced themselves that they are, real skiers. They make it up to squaw every other weekend.

      Reply
  38. Aimski1440 says:

    Bottom line is skiing is an inherently dangerous activity whether in bounds, side country or back country. I know that KSP did their absolute best job they could to provide a safe resort for their patrons. However, ski patrollers can’t be everywhere all the time. With the recent heavy snow/wind loading and the high avi danger, skiers and riders need to be educated about the risks that are present. Where this avalanche occurred may not present a high risk most the time but with the changing wind direction and temp, any slope can release if the conditions are right.
    SO, if you’re a skier or a snowboarder and you’re out in changing/variable conditions be smart and wear a beacon, shovel, probe and know how to use them!
    And to the injured party, thoughts and prayers are with them for a speedy recovery!
    From Down Undah, Amy

    Reply
  39. Nickulus says:

    Thanks for the details. I believe you have done a good thing by putting respect for the mountain back into people, like myself, who take this kind of terrain for granted.

    Reply
  40. Concerned says:

    So back to the real story. Does anyone know how the skier actually is?

    Reply
    • A Friend says:

      His Jaw is wired shut, some broken ribs. Hopes to be back in Napa, end of next week…

      Reply
      • A Friend says:

        Bruce’s jaw is wired shut, some broken ribs, hopes to be back in Napa end of next week. Thank you all for your kind words and thoughts…..

        Reply
  41. ZMC says:

    I’ve known KM for years. Good man, great patroller. All around stand up guy. Incidents like these can teach us all lessons, if we’re willing to hear the honest truth rather than scripted PR speak from risk adverse suits. Kevy, you did us all a service with your post. Sorry for the shit storm it created and hope you don’t catch much flack. So back to the lessons we’re reminded about…1 avy danger is a dynamic ever changing situation. Wind and new snow can quickly render safe slopes dangerous again before patrol or skiers have cut starting zones, especially in the outer, hike traverse to terrain like palisades where you have to work for it. Lesson 2 . . We love palisades b/c of its wild ‘out there’ sidecountry feel. That comes with responsibility. Carry avy gear, know how to use it, pay attention to snow conditions and be prepared to assess avy conditions yourself. If you arent confident in your skills, dont ski the margin of the resort. In resorts like Bridger in Montana, the local norm is for all expert skiers to carry avy gear while skiing their hike to terrain. Lesson 3…when there’s deep snow instability below heavy slab formation bombs, ski cuts and skier traffic may not initially be a sufficient trigger. A bomb crater doesnt mean its stable. Use your own eyes, ears and feel. Avy science isnt perfect.

    Positive vibes for recovery to the victim. Be careful out there. After such a late start, we’re all frothing and charging hard . . Just dont forget to stop and think too

    ZMC

    Reply
  42. bromine says:

    You know you have to sign a waiver when you buy a pass right? And there is one on the back of every ticket

    Reply
  43. KirkwoodChris says:

    Hats off to KM and the Kirkwood Ski Patrol!! You guys and gals work your asses off so we can play in the goodness of Kirkwood. Uncle Freddy……….you’re a waste of time with your piss poor attitude. E.A.D.

    Reply
  44. Thank you KM says:

    Great work KM and all the Kirkwood ski patrol. A million thanks for your work every day, and especially for your heroic work on the mountain Sunday, both before and after the snow slide.

    Also, please know KM that the vast majority of readers here are very appreciative of your informative, compassionate posts.

    Finally, please know that UF doesn’t know what he’s talking about. He learned everything he knows about tort law from fictional drama shows produced in Hollywood. There is nothing negatively probative in your posts. To the contrary, a good defense attorney would be able use your posts to strengthen Kirkwood’s case. That is, assuming there would ever be legal action, which others have correctly pointed out is far from a given.

    Reply
  45. KirkwoodSkier says:

    I am the guy that actually found the skier. Want to correct a few facts and also say how extremely disappointing it is it hear all of this juvenile back and forth on this site. First fact – I wasn’t skiing with him and didn’t ski out of the avalanche as the article says. I was ripping down a perfect un-tracked face and I heard a really faint “help me …”. I stopped and saw a guy who seemed to be sitting down in a cluster of trees 150 feet up the hill from me. Could barely communicate over the wind but I heard “I’m hurt, get patrol”. I saw his face was bloody – assumed he had hit a tree and was sitting there – I had NO idea there was an avalanche or that he was mostly buried. I called in an “injured skier” on my radio and patrol was on the way. Hiking up in the deep fresh powder was a bitch so I was waving my poles and yelling up hill at everyone I saw trying to get them to check on him. I think that some skiers couldn’t hear me – but I think that one guy looked at me waving at him, looked at his line and decided to ignore me. Pretty pissed about that one. It wasn’t until patrol got there and started probing that I realized what had happened. So I hiked up to see what I could do. Turns out he wasn’t sitting down like I thought, but that he was buried up to his chest really beat up. To the guy – if you read this – sorry I didn’t hike up right away – I had no idea how serious your situation was.

    A few observations – patrol had bombed the hell out of the hill that day and didn’t open this until almost 2 PM. I also never would have imagined that spot would have slid. When patrol got there they did a great job. Huge respect for those guys and the dog did a great job – cool to see how quickly he found the guys glove that had been ripped off and buried 20 feet up the hill. A huge learning – that “never ski alone” rule is REALLY important. The avalanche was not at all obvious and he was nestled in this cluster of trees and if I hadn’t heard him I think there is a really good chance that no one would have and then there would have been a huge tragedy. I hope he is OK – and sorry again for not hiking up more quickly – wish I could have helped more!

    Reply
    • rico says:

      to Kirkwood Skier
      Thanx for the update. Tough day and you seemed bummed you didn’t do more, but at least you stopped and you were doing your best in a crappy situation.
      I wish this site had more positive posts like yours. Prayers for the fallen skier.
      Peace
      <

      Reply
    • A Friend says:

      Thank you for saving Bruce’s life! Know it or not ,you did! I hope you contact me, so I can give him your email. I will forward your words tomorrow. He will be ok! God bless you!

      Reply
      • KirkwoodSkier says:

        Glad to hear that he is recovering and will be OK. I spent a few days in Reno at Renown a few years ago when I got airlifted up there after a skier cross crash as Sierra, so I know a bit of what he is going through. Make sure he keeps those leg things on that pump to keep the blood flowing when he is immobile. Those leg pumps bugged me and when the nurses forgot to put them back on me once I didn’t bother complaining. Got blood clots because they were off, and as a result had 3 pulmonary embolisms (clots flowed into the lungs which can easily kill you) that put me back in the hospital the day after I went home.

        I don’t want to post my email on a public forum because of spammers etc, but i have a spare gmail account you can send to and I will send my real email address so we can connect. My user name on the gmail account is dflynn3.

        Reply
    • A Friend says:

      To Kirkwood skier, I will be forwarding your comment to the skier you saved. I know he will want to thank you….He is still at Renown Regional Center Hospital, Reno Nevada…Thanks again

      Reply
    • Hometown Friend says:

      Hey man…..you truly are a life saver. He fractured every bone in his face. His jaw took a lot of the trauma. He was placed on a ventilator to support his airway. He had a partially collapsed lung, broken rib, and torn ACL in the right knee. He is amazed and thankful to be alive.

      He was back home in NC last week. It was good to see my old friend, and I feel you played a big part in that……so many thanks.

      Keep shredding

      Reply
    • Bruce says:

      Yo Kirkwood Skier guy. I’m that guy that got caught in the avalanche. I doubt you will ever see this reply as it is 1 1/2 years since the avalanche, but if you do, drop me a line some time. My email is [email protected]. Thanks for helping to save my life. That avalanche hurt bad. – Bruce

      Reply
  46. reesh says:

    Great job Kirkwood skier!! Uncle Freddie, you’re an asshole!!! I hope you’re not the first one who finds me buried, I know what the end result would be. . . . .

    Reply
  47. Anonymous says:

    I believe the correct legal term for the incident would be; ‘Post Control Release’

    cover you ass type of term only attorneys would bother using.

    shit happens, mountain weather is ever changing, thus causing events like this. mostly rare but very unfortunate.

    best wishes to the victim for a full recovery

    props to all pros who often lay it on the line during AC for meager pay

    Reply
  48. takethatshitelsewhere says:

    to uncle freddie,
    Take your law input and post it on a fucking law website, not unofficial. Nobody gives a flying fuck about potential lawsuits.

    Reply
  49. takeitelsewhere says:

    to uncle freddie,
    Take your law input and post it on a fucking law website, not unofficial. Nobody gives a flying fuck about potential lawsuits.

    Reply
  50. Annie says:

    You all need to back off. Mother nature can be fickle. Those patrollers will save your life one day and don’t forget the dogs. Patrollers put many hours and dollars in training thoses pups. As for the patrollers themselves they put their lives on the line everyday. So let it go. Shit happens.

    Reply
  51. John W says:

    Thanks KirkwoodSkier for finding, and timely reporting the avi victim.
    & correcting sketchy reports.

    I skied Kirkwood 3/20 in a spitting rain/snow & fog situation. Had heard
    3rd hand rumors of the Sentinel Bowl Avalanche till now.

    I flew home from SFO 3/21 to BWI after a month of Tahoe skiing. First
    & last days (not the best) were at Kirkwood. Got to ski with Epicski.com
    guys & Hairfarmr. I think I skied 21 of 27 days!

    Reply
  52. Hometown Friend says:

    Bruce was back in North Carolina this past week. He is doing much better, but still has a long way to go. He fractured every bone in his face. His jaw took a lot of the trauma. He was placed on a ventilator to support his airway. He had a partially collapsed lung, broken rib, and torn ACL in the right knee. He is amazed and thankful to be alive.

    In typical Bruce style, he is ready to begin the long road to recovery so he can be back out next season shredding the gnar.

    Reply
  53. uncle freddie says:

    KM–
    Seriously: god bless and take care. I’ve never been in your shoes and hope I never am–but I really 100% believe no one on your team did anything but what they thought was the best.

    Reply
  54. Jerry McGuire says:

    Boom.

    Reply

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