Light new snow from the recent round of storms has led to the first local report of a skier caught in an avalanche this season.
At about 1:15 on Tuesday, Mono Search and Rescue Team members were called out to help the Mammoth Mountain Ski Patrol, after a Ski Patroller was caught in an avalanche above chair 9 on the Dragons Tail.
Mono Sheriff Officials report that the patroller was cutting a slope, a common method of avalanche control, when the avalanche was triggered. The slide carried the patroller down the slope, leaving the patroller partially buried by the avalanche debris. Mono Sheriff Officials report that the patrollers partner saw the avalanche, radioed for help, then rushed to the partially buried partner.
Mammoth Mountain Ski Patrol was able to extricate the patroller from the snow, load him into a toboggan and ski him down to Eagle Lodge/Chair 15, where they were met by Mono County paramedics. The patroller was alert and conscious when transported to Mammoth Hospital.
The ski season is young, but avalanche activity has already claimed lives in the United States this year. An inbounds avalanche at the Snowbird resort in Utah killed a young woman on Sunday. A 52 year old man died in an avalanche while skiing out of bounds near Aspen, Colorado.