Near Miss: Turnagain

Location: Sunburst

Thu, December 18th, 2014
One skier caught, carried, fully buried, recovered with no injuries
Accident Report

On Thursday, December 18th, a party of two long-time Turnagain Pass skiers skinned up the common up-track on Sunburst’s Westerly ridge. After gaining the upper portion of the ridge, around 3,700’, they descended the popular Southwest face one at a time. Skier 1 descended first and safely skied to the valley floor without incident. Skier 2 began skiing and on the 7th or 8th turn triggered a large slab avalanche. The avalanche propagated up-slope and broke 15-20’ above Skier 2. Skier 2 was caught (See photos), carried and fully buried. Skier 2 came to a stop near the top of the deposition zone with their head roughly 1’ below the surface of the debris and a hand sticking out. Later, Skier 2 said they had “a good air pocket” and was able to begin self-excavating with their free hand. Skier 1 was out of the way of the debris and able to move uphill to assist digging their partner out.