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#9726 - 12/28/10 08:53 AM Skier Missing in China Peak
wagga Offline


Registered: 10/07/09
Posts: 2248
Loc: Humbug Reach (Pop. 3)
Story here. Hope for good news later.

PS: China Peak was known as Sierra Summit until this year. It's near Huntington Lake.
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Verum audaces non gerunt indusia alba. - Ipsi dixit MCMLXXII

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#9727 - 12/28/10 03:36 PM Re: Skier Missing in China Peak [Re: wagga]
wagga Offline


Registered: 10/07/09
Posts: 2248
Loc: Humbug Reach (Pop. 3)
Bad news.

"Shelby apparently fell into soft snow off the Lake View run off Chair 7 and suffocated in the powdery snow, Cohee said."
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Verum audaces non gerunt indusia alba. - Ipsi dixit MCMLXXII

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#9735 - 12/28/10 09:50 PM Re: Skier Missing in China Peak [Re: wagga]
Steve C Offline


Registered: 09/22/09
Posts: 7740
Loc: Fresno, CA
This is pretty unusual. I was actually up there with family today, and heard nothing of the missing skier until we got home.

The quote I read was: "He either impacted the tree or slid backyards into the tree well," Cohee told KMJ News, "and perhaps was suffocated by the snow."

It appears he was found when a skier noticed his snowboard sticking out of the snow by a tree.

Amazing.

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#9739 - 12/29/10 07:57 AM Re: Skier Missing in China Peak [Re: Steve C]
Rod Offline


Registered: 09/22/09
Posts: 660
Loc: Santa Clarita, Ca. USA
Wow hard to believe. That is one of the safest ski areas around calif. I have taken my family there for years. Both my kids learned to ski there as young children. Of course it was called Sierra Summit back then. When did they change it to China Peak? I wonder why.

That just has to be one of those freak accidents like falling in the yard and hitting your head.It seams like such an unlikely way to die skiing.BTW a snow boarder died yesterday at our local Mtn High. Apparently he hit a tree and died.Maybe it is time for all skiers and boarders to wear helmets.There seems to be so many skiing deaths from hitting trees than I can remember.


Edited by Rod (12/29/10 08:03 AM)

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#9740 - 12/29/10 08:45 AM Re: Skier Missing in China Peak [Re: Rod]
wagga Offline


Registered: 10/07/09
Posts: 2248
Loc: Humbug Reach (Pop. 3)
"Doing a Bono" has entered the language.
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Verum audaces non gerunt indusia alba. - Ipsi dixit MCMLXXII

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#9741 - 12/29/10 09:01 AM Re: Skier Missing in China Peak [Re: Rod]
Ken Offline


Registered: 10/29/09
Posts: 742
Loc: Los Angeles
Sorry to hear about this accident.

I've skied this area. Rustic, but nice, area.

I'd not know about the name change. I see that was because the area has been bought, and they are trying to change the "brand" (along with the prices).

Perhaps of some interest, for 20-some years, the ski patrol had been run by Mike Nolan, who during the summer is the lead Wilderness Ranger on the Sierra National Forest. An amazing guy, who I thought ran an a very safe ski program. I see he is no longer in charge.

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#9749 - 12/29/10 08:04 PM Re: Skier Missing in China Peak [Re: Ken]
Steve C Offline


Registered: 09/22/09
Posts: 7740
Loc: Fresno, CA
News reports today mentioned that the snowboarder's friend said they had been drinking quite a bit. May be a DUI of sorts.

Edit: Based on information below, it sounds like suffocation in a tree well may have been the cause. I didn't realize it was such a hazard.


Edited by Steve C (12/30/10 09:34 PM)

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#9753 - 12/29/10 10:55 PM Re: Skier Missing in China Peak [Re: Steve C]
Ken Offline


Registered: 10/29/09
Posts: 742
Loc: Los Angeles
This is a mechanism by which a few people die each year. A person ends up upside down in a tree well, almost always on a snowboard, which they cannot get out of. The snow is soft, and they can get no purchase, and exhaust themselves, but as they flail, work themselves deeper, and basically drown. Typically the snowboard is found sticking out. Doesn't happen with skis, because you can pop out of them, but you have to reach up to get out of the board, and the snow blocks this.

I don't much like trees in snow since my skull fracture and brain bleed in a collision with one. (Squaw Valley)
The tree won.

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#9754 - 12/30/10 02:20 AM Re: Skier Missing in China Peak [Re: Ken]
Mike Condron Offline


Registered: 11/05/09
Posts: 215
Loc: Now Manteca, CA
Some info on the treewell hazard:

http://treewelldeepsnowsafety.com/

This is big deal in the Mt Baker area in Washington where there is a huge snowfall every year. I think the record is around 1100" of snow fall in one year. (yes, 1100"+)
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#9758 - 12/30/10 07:41 AM Re: Skier Missing in China Peak [Re: Mike Condron]
Ken Offline


Registered: 10/29/09
Posts: 742
Loc: Los Angeles
Mike that is an outstanding site. I learned several things I did not know, including that skiers were as prone to this as they are. Some really good points:

It is critical to ski or ride with a partner who remains in visual contact with you at all times. If you and your partner choose to ski or snowboard in ungroomed areas your partner must:

Always stay in visual contact so that they can see you if you fall. Visual contact (See photos # 1-3) means stopping and watching your partner descend at all times, then proceeding downhill while he or she watches you at all times. It does NO GOOD if your partner is waiting for you in lift line while you are riding down.

Stay close enough to either pull or dig you out. If you have any question about what "close enough" to assist someone in a tree well is, hold your breath while you are reading this. The amount of time before you need air may be how much time your partner has to pull or dig you out of danger. Other factors such as creating an air pocket or the position you fall in, may affect this critical timeframe.

DO NOT LEAVE TO GET HELP, it will not arrive in time.




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#9765 - 12/30/10 09:36 PM Re: Skier Missing in China Peak [Re: Mike Condron]
Steve C Offline


Registered: 09/22/09
Posts: 7740
Loc: Fresno, CA
Thanks for posting that, Mike. I did not realize how possible a tree-well suffocation death is.

From the web site:
"Deaths resulting from these kinds of accidents are referred to as a NARSID or Non-Avalanche Related Snow Immersion Death."

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#10986 - 02/20/11 05:25 AM Re: Skier Missing (Tree Well Information) [Re: Steve C]
KevinR Offline


Registered: 11/03/09
Posts: 595
Loc: Manchester, NH
Yet another possible death - story is here.

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#11242 - 03/02/11 10:01 AM Re: Skier Missing (Tree Well Information) [Re: KevinR]
wagga Offline


Registered: 10/07/09
Posts: 2248
Loc: Humbug Reach (Pop. 3)
And here, too.
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Verum audaces non gerunt indusia alba. - Ipsi dixit MCMLXXII

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#11569 - 03/15/11 05:23 AM Re: Skier Missing (Tree Well Information) [Re: wagga]
wagga Offline


Registered: 10/07/09
Posts: 2248
Loc: Humbug Reach (Pop. 3)
People doing something about tree well deaths.

"Zider, a Peninsula resident, was provoked to action after reading a series of stories in The Chronicle that described how more than 15 snowboarders have died since the Christmas holidays, most in the same manner as his son."



Edit 4-20-11: Excellent tree well rescue video here: Tree well rescue

...and a related thread: Missing Snowboarder Found Dead in Tree Well (North Sierra)

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