Vail area backcountry avalanche injures skier |

Vail area backcountry avalanche injures skier

A skier suffered a broken leg after being caught in an avalanche Thursday in the Pitkin Creek area of East Vail. Rescue crews from Vail Mountain Rescue and HAATS aviators staged on the Vail Mountain School campus and had the skier off the mountain and in an ambulance in only an hour and a half after arriving at the staging area.
Vail Mountain School | Special to the Daily |

VAIL — A backcountry avalanche Thursday east of Vail left one skier with a broken leg. Two other skiers were unharmed.

The three skiers were in the Pitkin Creek area of East Vail when the slide occurred around 9 a.m.

The injured skier, who has not yet been identified, was caught in the avalanche. No other injuries and no deaths were reported, said Jessie Mosher, public information officer with the Eagle County Sheriff’s Office.

Vail Mountain Rescue located the skier, who could not be moved because of the injury.

The local volunteer rescue group called aviators from Colorado Air National Guard’s High Altitude Aviation Training Site, who immediately dispatched a UH-60 Blackhawk helicopter to extract the skier, said Capt. Scott Tucker, of HAATS.


Between the quick work of Vail Mountain Rescue volunteers and HAATS aviators, the injured skier was in an ambulance less than an hour and a half from the time the first rescue volunteers arrived at the staging area at Vail Mountain School.

The skier was transported by Eagle County Paramedic Services to the Vail Valley Medical Center.

Neither Vail Mountain Rescue nor HAATS charges for its services.

The Colorado Avalanche Information Center said avalanche danger is considerable near and above tree line for Eagle and Summit counties.

Thursday’s avalanche follows last week’s fatal slide on the west side of Aspen Mountain outside the ski area boundary, where a man was caught and killed in a 630-foot slide. Three avalanche deaths have been reported so far this season. The state’s annual average is between six and eight.

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