Observation: Turnagain

Location: TinCan Trees

Route & General Observations

TinCan up track to about 2300ft. Skied 3 runs in trees in ~24” new snow. Discussed with ski partner the hazards of the snowpack and the need to avoid steep terrain and run outs. Less focus was given on other hazards, specifically tree wells and difficulty moving in deep snow. On the last run, I unintentionally skied out of sight of my partner. Shortly after he lost visual, I lost control in the deep snow and crashed head first down a tree well, buried to my skis. Assuming my partner witnessed the event, I didn’t panic (too much) and waited for my rescue. Next thing I heard was my partner on the radio informing me that he had made the bottom of the run (and a little more because he didn’t see me and assumed I had kept going). I told him I was buried and needed help, but soon realized he would be a while getting to me. Already reaching the limits of my personal comfort, I decided the best course of action would be an attempt at self rescue. With careful movements, and some luck, I was able to find the surface and dig myself out. Garmin indicated 5min total burial time.

Important lessons learned on risk analysis, communication, and complacency in the back country.

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