Two backcountry skiers were partially buried in an avalanche over the weekend on the Angel Slides on Wright Peak—the location of a fatal avalanche in February 2000.
David Winchell, a spokesman for the state Department of Environmental Conservation, said one man was pinned against a stump and buried up to his chest. The second was carried more than six hundred feet and buried up to his chest. Both men were able to dig themselves out and leave the area.
The Adirondack Daily Enterprise identified the skiers as Ian Measeck of Glens Falls and Jamie McNeill of Vergennes, Vt.
The skiers had dug a pit to test the snow before heading up the slope about noon on Saturday. While ascending, they heard “woofing” noises in the fresh snow—a sign of an unstable snow pack—and chose to backtrack. As they turned around, however, the snow gave way and carried them both down the slope.
Visible from Marcy Dam, the Angel Slides are bedrock slabs (one wide, one narrow) that were stripped of vegetation during a 1999 rainstorm. In winter, they are often skied. In 2000, an avalanche on the wide slab swept up four skiers. One of them, twenty-seven-year-old Toma Vracarich, was killed. Saturday’s avalanche also was on the wide slab. Winchell said the entire slab–300 feet wide by 1,200 feet long–avalanched.
A few weeks ago, I wrote a post for Adirondack Almanack on the 2000 disaster and other avalanches in the Adirondacks.
On Monday, DEC issued a news release warning that recent snowfalls have increased the avalanche danger in the Adirondacks. Click on the link below to read it.