Dates: Saturday, November 10 – Sunday, November, 11, 2012
Location: Alpine Meadows, CA
Skiers: Alex, Brandon, Jon, Marcus, Mike & Nick
Photos: Alex, Jon & Nick (as noted)
Synopsis: During late last week, another early season storm fell across the Tahoe Basin with extremely cold temps (by Tahoe standards) and light, dry snow. A group of us headed up to Alpine Meadows for a couple of days of backcountry touring. I note “backcountry” as Alpine Meadows is currently closed until the resort opens in December, and therefore the terrain and snowpack is uncontrolled from an avalanche perspective at this point.
Ultimately, we had a great time skiing in good conditions without much incident over the course of both days. Alpine Meadows must have had upwards of 100 people backcountry ski touring, boarding and snowshoeing around the mountain on both days. I have heard of similar reports from Kirkwood and Sugarbowl.
However, as I write this Trip Report, I do so with some sadness and an introspection about the fragility of life in general. As I found after this past weekend, at some point on Saturday (likely after we had left for the day) a young skier suffered a traumatic accident while telemark skiing at Alpine Meadows. She was telemark skiing for the first time, likely enjoying a beautiful day with her friends in the exact same fashion we were elsewhere on the mountain. I since learned that she suffered a crash while skiing (and wearing a helmet) and struck a rock buried in the snow relatively hard. Ultimately, due to the strong efforts of her companions and the Alpine Meadows Ski Patrol (who were on site conducting training at the base), a valiant effort was made to transport her via helicopter to emergency care. Unfortunately, she suffered critical injuries in the fall and she has since passed on.
Since I first heard about this, a stark reality struck me: