Wednesday, January 9, 2008

Heroic efforts saved our son

As longtime valley residents, we were so thankful for the recent snowstorms to help our water supply and, of course, for some incredible skiing.

On Saturday morning, our family headed up to Baldy to enjoy this new snow. The lift lines were an amazing sight. However, well worth the wait. Sun Valley Co. always takes precautions when this much heavy snow has fallen upon our valley. I had never heard as much avalanche control blasting as I did on Saturday morning. I was confident that runs (especially in the bowls and steep slopes) would not be opened until all avalanche control was complete.

I was skiing with my daughter and my son was off skiing with friends. Dangerous skiing conditions had not crossed my mind. If anything, I thought perhaps a broken leg in this heavy snow.

At approximately 1 p.m., I received a call from ski patrol saying that my son, Nicholas, had been pulled from an avalanche below Hershey Highway, unharmed. Wow! What a phone call! One I hope I never receive again.

We would like to extend a huge thank-you to the Sun Valley Ski Patrol for their quick response time to this incident. Time is of the utmost essence in this kind of situation. We would also like to thank Nicholas's friend Tyler, who witnessed this event and aided in flagging down help as soon as possible, as well as the ski instructor nearby who called ski patrol right away. These were truly heroic efforts by all those involved.

An avalanche in a controlled area in-bounds never even crossed my mind as a possibility. I am guilty of not paying close attention to the signs that say "Hazards Exist That Are Not Marked" and give little thought to the waivers that we sign when purchasing ski passes. I just assume that skiing in-bounds will be a safe playground for our families.

The Sun Valley Ski Patrol continues to be a very important part of the safety of our mountain. We are thankful for all of their training and controlling the mountain to the best of their abilities.

We urge everyone to remember that skiing is great fun and exercise, but can also be dangerous at times. Please make yourselves aware of the mountain conditions before heading up. Insist that your kids ski with a friend at all times. It may save their lives.

We are truly thankful for a happy ending to this story.

Mike and Annie Weber


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