Skiing solo in the backcountry is never a good idea. Whether you tweak your knee, break a binding, or something worse, things get doubly complicated if anything goes array while traveling in the backcountry alone. Now, one skier now has a story that reinforces that point.
On Monday afternoon, a solo skier survived what is being described as a traumatic avalanche incident after the person in question triggered an avalanche on the west side of the Eisenhower tunnel off Interstate 70 in Summit County, Colorado. The skier was caught and partially buried after being washed over “a couple of large cliff bands” reports the Summit County Rescue Group. Luckily, the skier had access to his cellphone (and service) and was able to dial 9-1-1.
Summit County Rescue Group Report
A very close call this afternoon for a skier on Coon Hill (just west of the Eisenhower Tunnel, off I-70, on the north side). The skier triggered a large avalanche in some steep chutes and was buried up to their waist, after having been carried over a couple of large cliff bands; the person sustained serious injuries. There were two obvious ‘step downs’ in the slide path, that is, you could very easily see where the avalanche broke through to existing weak layers as it slid. Almost as though there were two ‘crowns.’ The patient was stabilized and brought down by toboggan to a waiting ambulance.
Our teams had to do some judicious route finding to minimize the risk while trying to locate the individual.
*An accident report has yet to be formally posted on the CAIC website.
Although the avalanche danger in the area is currently marked as moderate, CAIC strongly recommends that suspect slopes be analyzed and evaluated on an individual basis.
For up-to-date avalanche information for Colorado visit: Colorado Avalanche Information Center