29-year-old skier dies after avalanche

March 1, 2012 12:00:00 AM PST
A skier has died after getting caught in an avalanche in the Sierra. The tragedy happened in the back country on a mountain called Stanford Rock, near Alpine Meadows.

The skier's death was confirmed just before 11 p.m. Thursday, but it was clear things were not looking good, when paramedics were seen performing CPR on him as he was being wheeled into the hospital.

Paramedics loaded the injured skier into an ambulance. He was one of three people skiing in the back country, just south of Alpine Meadows, when he got caught in an avalanche. Doug Read was one of the first rescuers on scene.

"One was caught in the slide from the get-go and taken down the mountain quite a ways. Probably? 300 feet down and the slide, when we came out, the slide had gone at least another 500 feet below that," said Read.

The Sierra received a big dumping of snow over the past few days and the risk of an avalanche has been high. It was in such a remote area, that it took the Tahoe Nordic Search and Rescue Team two and a half hours to get to the injured skier.

"We had to send Tahoe Nordic on foot because the terrain was so rough that we couldn't get the snowcat or any snowmobiles up the hill," said Placer Co. Sheriff's Lt. John Weaver.

Rescuers say he was slipping in and out of consciousness when they got to him.

"He was all messed up. He was pretty wrapped around a tree and quite a few broken limbs," said Read.

Authorities are now reiterating their warning about skiing in the back country, especially when there's high risk of an avalanche.

"Be prepared. If you're going to do it, know what you're doing, let your friends know where you're going and have all the proper equipment," said Weaver.

The skier has been identified as 29-year-old Benjamin Brackett of Olympic Valley.


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