Pro skier and BASE jumper, JT Holmes is lucky to be alive after being buried in an avalanche while skiing in the backcountry northwest of Lake Tahoe. Holmes, who is world-famous for his proficiency in skiing, BASE jumping, and Speed-Flying, was backcountry skiing with 8 others in between Donner Lake and Tinker Knob at an elevation of 7,400 feet, when the avalanche struck reports the Reno Gazette-Journal.
Everyone in the group was equipped with the necessary avalanche equipment
He was caught in the slide just after dropping into the line and was subsequently carried and buried underneath 3 feet of snow. As a result, Holmes was left unconscious until three medical responders within the group dug him out of the avalanche debris. Although he did not require CPR, a supported evacuation was necessary for extrication.
An avalanche advisory issued by the Sierra Avalanche Center on the day of the incident indicated the avalanche danger was considerable near tree-line and skiers should take note that “human triggered avalanches remain likely. Unusual avalanche conditions exist.”
In a phone interview with the Reno Gazette-Journal, Holmes told one reporter, “I feel a lot of emotion about what happened,” to which he added, “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.”
The avalanche danger is currently posted as Moderate.
Find up to date avalanche advisories for the Sierra here: SIERRA AVALANCHE CENTER
Read the entire Reno Gazette-Journal article here: Pro skier JT Holmes survives avalanche burial