Skier injured by avalanche in Sun Valley

The avalanche occurred Monday in an out of bounds area on Bald Mountain.

KETCHUM, Idaho -- A Sun Valley skier suffered serious injuries after being buried in an avalanche. It happened in the out of bounds area on the north side of Bald Mountain on Monday. 

 

The Sawtooth Avalanche Center says they're not sure of the man's condition, and his identity has not yet been released. 

We checked with the Blaine County Sheriff's Office and the Sun Valley Resort, but they also couldn't release any information on how the skier is doing. 

Scott Savage with the Sawtooth Avalanche Center said it happened in an out of bounds area, which is Forest Service land not maintained by the ski resort or managed by the ski patrol.  

"It was a very scary situation, and it's unlucky that he's hurt, but lucky that he's alive," said Savage.

Savage says there was a high avalanche danger that day because of this winter's snow fall. 

"Weak, sugary rotten snow near the ground that forms when you have cold temperatures and a thin snow pack, and then we got all these big storms on top of that, so you really, weak snow down low then stronger snow above it, so it's just too much snow too fast," said Savage. 
 
Savage says the two skiers were about 50 feet apart when the avalanche started, and the victim was carried about 450 feet, then slammed against a tree, with his head under two feet of snow.

Fortunately, his partner was very experienced and quickly tried to find him with his rescue equipment ready. 

"As he started getting up the slope and started to turn his beacon on he saw his partners hand sticking out so he ran up to where he was, dug him out really quickly, realized he was injured and called 911," said Savage. 

Savage says ski patrol then responded and transported the skier to the hospital. He says those in the backcountry should be prepared for these dangerous conditions. 
 
"It wasn't unexpected to us that there were avalanches there, it was really sad someone was injured, but it wasn't a surprise that there was unstable snow over there," said Savage. 

Savage says the skier hurt was in his 20s and lives in the Wood River Valley. 

The Sawtooth Avalanche Center says there are some safety tips you should follow if you're planning to head to the backcountry. They say first check the conditions to see if there are any advisories, choose the terrain wisely, and make sure to bring the proper rescue equipment. 


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