JACKSON, Wyo. — Not all winter backcountry rescues are avalanche related, but all winter rescues take avalanche conditions into account.
Such was the case on Sunday, Jan. 2. Teton County Search and Rescue was called to assist a woman who had injured her knee while backcountry skiing on Windy Ridge, on the west side of Teton Pass. Avalanche danger was moderate/considerable at different elevations, and rescue crews had to consider the hazards before loading up the helicopter.
Risks weighed, TCSAR assembled one team in the helicopter, plus ground teams and a short-haul crew as backup. Luck and weather were on their side, according to TCSAR. The helicopter was able to fly directly to the injured skier. She was packaged, loaded, and flown back to the TCSAR hangar, where friends met her and helped her complete the trip to medical care. The entire mission lasted less than two hours, TCSAR said.
“This incident shows the efficiency and speed of the TCSAR helicopter, but also serves as an important reminder that weather and darkness can prevent the ship from flying,” TCSAR said on Facebook. “Had that been the case, this would have been a much longer—and colder—ordeal for everyone involved. Either way, our team was happy to help get this skier out of the backcountry safely.”