Detailed Accident Report
Submitted By: Doug Abromeit
Place: Central Idaho
Summary: 2 backcountry skiers caught and buried in seperate accidents
The past three days two Central Idaho backcountry skiers
were totally buried and then found and recovered by their partners using
The first burial occurred Saturday 12/14 on Copper Mountain near Ketchum
and Stanley, Idaho. At this time details are lacking on this burial;
however the victim was totally buried and was reportedly unconscious when
he was recovered by his partners.
The second burial occurred Sunday 12/15 on Granite Mountain near McCall,
Idaho and Brundage Ski Area. Seven friends had ridden snowmobiles to the
base of Granite and then skinned along a low angle slope to a ridge over
looking a rather steep north tending slope. The group had heard whumping
and seen shooting cracks on their way up to the ridge. Because of the
obvious warning signs the group decided not to ski the north tending slope.
They were kicking cornices and talking when one person noticed what they
thought was a large natural or sympathetic slide.
Soon, however, they realized one of their party was missing and saw tracks
leading into the bed surface. Luckily for the victim the other six people
were very experienced including Payette NF avalanche forecaster Randy
Skinner. They reacted quickly and fully recovered the victim about eight
minutes after they realized he was missing. The victim was buried 42
inches below the surface and was breathing laboriously. He was in a very
contorted position but suffered no trauma. His 3-pin skis were still on
his feet and probably exacerbated his contorted position.
Doug Abromeit, Director
Forest Service National Avalanche Center