STEAMBOAT SPRINGS, Colo. (CBS4) – Two teams of rescuers worked into the wee hours of the morning Sunday to haul an injured skier out the bottom of Fish Creek Canyon. The skier, a male in his 50s, was skiing an out-of-bounds area called 3rd Pitch late Saturday afternoon with two colleagues just beyond the northern edge of the Steamboat Ski Resort.
According to Routt County Search & Rescue, the male skier became separated from the other skiers, failed to find his way back in-bounds, and descended into Fish Creek Canyon below a backcountry feature called Hell’s Wall. He eventually fell into Fish Creek, injuring his knee.READ MORE: Jeffco Public Schools Aims To Offer Flexibility With Remote Learning Next Fall
RCSAR volunteers were paged out at 6:15 p.m. They reached the injured man around 10 p.m.
They quickly treated him and placed him in a toboggan for the trek out, which was complicated by unusually low snowpack.
The RCSAR team pulled the man through boulder fields, dense vegetation and around open water – terrain which would be easier to travel if it was buried and cushioned by normal depths of snow.
“This made route-finding extremely difficult and care had to be taken to avoid dead ends in an zone that can usually be skied without much difficulty,” RCSAR stated in its Facebook post about the incident. “Extracting the patient in the rescue toboggan in these conditions was arduous and slow going, at times team was only making around 150 feet of progress after 30 minutes of hard work.”READ MORE: COVID In Aurora: Signs For Vaccine Become Sticking Point Between Clinic & City
The first team reached Fish Creek Falls at 1 a.m. and called for a medical helicopter. The pilot, however, was unable to find a suitable landing zone.
A second team of rescuers was sent in to relieve the first, and with the eventual help of firefighters, was able to drag the skier uphill to an ambulance.
The skier was transported to the hospital at 3 a.m. after his five-hour ride in the toboggan.
He is expected to make a full recovery, according to RCSAR.
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