For my Ski Buddies. Enjoy :)
Saturday, July 08, 2006
Friday, April 07, 2006
Two Days After We Left Utah
April 6th, 2006 @ 9:37pm
Jed Boal Reporting
"At one point I knew we were in mid-air, just waiting for the rolling and crashing to stop."
It's an incredible tale of a terrifying tumble. An avalanche sweeps an SUV off Little Cottonwood Road. Inside was a family of seven and two hitchhikers. The family is on a ski vacation and survived the ride of their lives near the White Pines Slide Area.
The heavy snow triggered many avalanches in the canyons today. Little Cottonwood Canyon is closed right now and won't re-open until the morning.
As the Thomas family drove down from Alta, an avalanche plowed them right off the road. Michael Thomas, his wife and five young kids skied in blizzard conditions all day. But it was the drive down the mountain the St. Louis family will never forget. They had picked up two Alta workers thumbing a ride and headed down the ice-packed road.
Michael Thomas: "Driving down the road. The next thing you know, we're off the road and tumbling."
Their large SUV went over the edge in the White Pines slide area half way up the canyon. They landed hanging upside down in seat belts. One of the teenage workers kicked out a window. Thomas estimated they rolled 100-150 feet down the canyon.
Adam Thomas, 10-Year Old: "All I remember is white, and my seatbelt holding me right here, bumping around."
Amazingly, no one was hurt. The worst of it was the scrapes and bruises on 10-year old Adam's face. His two younger brothers and two younger sisters are fine. Rescue crews were amazed.
Sgt. Todd Griffiths, Salt Lake County Sherriff's Office: "When we got to it, there was little kids climbing up out of the snow. All covered in snow. You know, it was little three-year old snowballs crawling out of there. So it was pretty exciting to see that they were all okay."
Little Cottonwood Canyon was closed all afternoon for avalanche control. It was re-opened around 5 pm about an hour before the Thomas family drove down.
Michael Thomas: "Just a little shooken up, but fabulous condition. Happy to be alive."
Little Cottonwood Canyon will not re-open until morning, that's when crews will retrieve the SUV. Also, Big Cottonwood closed to all but local traffic.
It's their first time skiing in Utah, but they say they'll be back.
Sad News - We Saw The Patrols
Santiago rite bids farewell to man killed in Utah avalanche
By Pat Reavy
Deseret Morning News
A goodbye ceremony was scheduled for Tuesday night at a Catholic church in Santiago, Chile, for the snowboarder killed Monday in a fall and avalanche near Brighton Ski Resort.
Atilio Giorgio Cremaschi Yazar, 27, was well known among the snowboarding community and participated in many boarding events, including World Cup competitions.
His family said Cremaschi loved sports and played soccer and volleyball in high school, but his passion was snowboarding.
"He was careful. He was always aware about what he was doing. He had a lot of experience as a snowboarder," said his sister, Paty Cremaschi. Atilio was an instructor at Valle Nevado ski resort in Chile. "Atilio was always concerned about his security. He was really careful and he used to take all the precautions needed," said his girlfriend, Andrea Fazio.
Employees at La Tabla Magazine, a snowboarding and skateboarding periodical printed in Chile, said they remember Cremaschi as a person who was really "amped" on snowboarding. "He was very social and friendly," Francisco Javier Gormaz said.
Cremaschi and another man were on Pioneer Ridge Monday about 1:30 p.m. outside the boundaries of Brighton. Cremaschi stopped and took off his board to look over what appeared to be the edge of a cliff to see if he could ride down, said Salt Lake County Sheriff's Sgt. Paul Jaroscak. "He didn't realize he was standing on a cornice," Jaroscak said. "The ground beneath him was hollow." A cornice is an overhang created by wind in which the snow takes the shape of a cresting wave. This cornice was reportedly 40 to 50 feet wide and 5 to 6 feet thick.
When Cremaschi got to the top the snow collapsed under his weight and he fell approximately 100 feet down the side of a cliff that was at a near 90-degree angle, Jaroscak said.
He was then carried another 200 feet over a rocky area by the slide, which was approximately 100 feet wide and 4 feet deep, and was buried. The second man made a quick search of the debris pile, unable to spot Cremaschi, before heading down the mountain to get help, according to a preliminary report from the Utah Avalanche Forecast Center.
At 1:55 p.m. the ski patrol was notified and by 2:21 p.m. they spotted a hand sticking out of the slide, according to the report. Cremaschi was found buried under 18 inches of snow. He was later pronounced dead at University Hospital.
Cremaschi and his partner normally wear avalanche gear, according to the man he was with, but on this day they did not. The friend told investigators they had not intended on boarding in an out-of-bounds area that day, the accident report stated. "The cornice that broke already had foot tracks from other backcountry travelers that were walking around on it earlier in the day.
This may have given the victim a false sense of security," according to the report. But Jaroscak said even avalanche beacons might not have made a difference in this case. "He may have been severely injured in the fall," Jaroscak said. "The autopsy will hopefully show if his fatal injuries were due to compression or asphyxiation."
The avalanche forecast for that day was listed at "moderate to considerable." The man with Cremaschi "was very shaken up and realizes the many mistakes that they made resulted in a tragic ending," according to the Avalanche Center's report. Cremaschi reportedly had traveled to Utah during the past two or three seasons, which is summertime in Chile, to snowboard.