2 skiers rescued from Fish Creek Canyon area
February 16, 2018
STEAMBOAT SPRINGS — Routt County Search and Rescue volunteers and Steamboat Ski Area patrollers were able to rescue a 50-year-old man who reportedly suffered a broken lower leg while skiing out of bounds near Fish Creek Canyon on Thursday.
Ski patrollers helped the man get down the canyon to the bridge at Fish Creek Falls. Search and Rescue volunteers then helped carry the injured skier to emergency responders ready to provide medical attention.
"It went really smoothly," Search and Rescue volunteer Kristia Check-Hill said Friday.
The rescue was the second time this week ski patrollers have had to help skiers who got into trouble out of bounds near Fish Creek Canyon.
Ski area spokeswoman Nicole Miller said the second rescue involved a skier who was lost, tired and out of water.
That skier was not injured.
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Check-Hill wondered whether the recent abundance of snow has led to more skiers leaving the resort and going out of bounds.
The resort on Friday reiterated a message it has been telling skiers and riders for years — “If you don't know, don't go.”
Hoping to deter inexperienced skiers from reaching terrain they shouldn't be going to, the resort in 2016 adopted a new policy notifying skiers and riders that they could face a fine of $500 per person if ski patrol had to rescue them in the backcountry.
Steamboat was the first ski area in the state to roll out the policy.
The rescues at Fish Creek Canyon have sometimes taken a toll on the rescuers.
In January 2017, an avalanche in the Fish Creek drainage injured a search and rescue member who was on a mission to rescue two lost skiers who accessed the area from Buffalo Mountain.
Avalanche danger considerable
Backcountry skiers should be aware of the risk of avalanches in the wake of recent winter storms.
The avalanche danger in the Steamboat Springs and Flat Tops Wilderness Area zones was rated as considerable Friday after the area received anywhere from 10 to 20 inches of snow in a 48-hour period.
"Watch out for shooting cracks in the new snow, especially on slopes near ridgetops where the wind has drifted this new snow into thicker slabs," read a bulletin from the Colorado Avalanche Information Center. "Avalanches in the storm snow will be especially dangerous if combined with a terrain trap such as a steep gully where deep debris can pile up."
The latest weather forecast from the National Weather Service calls for another snowstorm to arrive in the Steamboat area Sunday evening.
"We're expecting anywhere from 5 to 12 inches of snow in those systems," meteorologist Jeff Colton said Friday.
He said the ski area could see about 5 inches at mid-mountain by Monday, and as much as 10 inches on the summit.
Areas north of Steamboat could see higher snowfall amounts.
"The heaviest snow will be falling during the day on President's Day," Colton said.