If you’ve been following current events you may have seen that Taos Ski Valley had an inbounds avalanche on Thursday which took the lives of two skiers. The skiers were on the K3 chute near the top of Kachina Peak; the mountains highest point at 12,481 ft., when the avalanche occurred. This was the first in-bounds avalanche in Taos 64 year history.
As you follow the story you will find countless references to team work, heroism, and organization as more than two hundred volunteers worked with ski patrol to form a probe line to locate and extricate the trapped skiers as quickly as possible….I Love you! One witness said it couldn’t have been more than 5 minutes before efforts were underway to locate the fallen and the first was extricated in <15 minutes. Yes, this is a long time to be trapped, no doubt about it, but that fluffy powder at the top turns into concrete in an avalanche, and the patient was 6 feet down. My heart goes out to the families of those lost, but my joy rises up when I read the stories about the teamwork involved….cheers to you all, my alpine family.
After reading through an article from the SantaFeNewMexican I was browsing the comments section and came across a post from a guy named Ben Shroeter that read “I hate to say this but this is 100% the fault of Taos Ski Valley.” My first thought was what an ass! Hey Ben, how could you have possibly come to such a deduction so quickly? The investigation just got started! And furthermore this is not a time for judgement, it’s a time for grievance. Ok I’ll say it aloud…What an ass! Now theoretically it could be the fault of Taos, I guess. Maybe the patrol team leader came in that morning with a major hangover from the previous nights binger, took one look at the hill and said “looks good to me, open ‘er up.” Sure, it’s possible, but, in my best english accent, “not bloody likely”.
This tool continues his rampage with “The Taos Ski Patrol obviously was not adequately trained” and “The staff should have known better”. Look folks, this is a wilderness sport and must be treated as such. If you play in the outdoors you have to accept the reality that occasionally the unexpected can, and will, occur. I personally have multiple friends that are ski patrollers and they take the job very serious! Training is a continuous effort and these guys put in tons of hours to bring us the safest conditions possible… they make in-bounds skiing possible! But that said they are not in charge, mother is…mother nature.
Now go out there and make you next run a tribute to those that have died doing what they love…and wear your helmet!