One skier died Saturday morning, and five others were rescued in an avalanche at Crystal Mountain in Washington.
Pierce County sheriff’s deputies said they learned of the avalanche in Silver Basin, a backcountry area at Crystal Mountain, around 10:50 a.m. A witness told authorities they saw six people get buried in the incident. All six were wearing avalanche beacons and were quickly found.
Rescuers said they were able to pull all six skiers from the snow, including one 60-year-old who was not breathing. Rescuers attempted to resuscitate the person through CPR but were unsuccessful. The skier died at the scene. Details on the man’s identity and others in the group were not immediately released.
The large, steep open bowl that straddles the south end of the resort’s ski boundary wasn’t yet open. The resort only opened last week, a relatively late season start, and the ski patrol hadn’t completed its avalanche-control work.
“This should serve as a really firm reminder that, even though it’s late, even though we’re all anxious to get out there and be on the snow and have a good time, and even though this is the very first snowstorm we’ve had to enjoy all year … if you are backcountry skiing … you need to remember all of those (safety) practices and take great care and pay very close attention to open and closed terrain,” said DeBerry.
The man’s death marks the first avalanche fatality in States for the 2021-2022 season. However in Canada on Nov. 27, a snowmobiler lost their life in an avalanche in B.C., read more about the incident here. In The Northwest Avalanche Center warned of “considerable” avalanche danger in the backcountry area of Crystal Mountain. Staff had posted warnings out of concern that snow hanging above the avalanche’s crown would put them in danger if they tried to ski in the area.