BOSTON (CBS) – Two skiers had a frightening fall down Tuckerman Ravine on Mount Washington Sunday. A mountain guide teaching a course nearby caught the whole thing on camera.
David Lottmann of Northeast Mountaineering saw it even before it happened; he noticed the two people because skiers were scarce on a day with such firm snow conditions.
“The snow is still in a mid-winter state up there; it hasn’t turned into a spring snow pack,” Lottmann said. “The spider senses went up on the back of my neck and I thought okay I’m going to start recording.”
He watched the couple come down from above “The Lip” and they appeared to scout out the best way to come down. That’s when both began tumbling down, sliding nearly 500 feet. That firm snow makes for a very hard fall.
Lottmann and his group held their breath as the couple’s wild slide finally stopped. “It is really dramatic to watch,” he said. “Then they basically stood up and brushed themselves off and were good to go.”
Lottman’s using the video as a reminder to spring skiers to pay close attention to timing and conditions. He says even losing the sun on a slope can change the difficulty of the ski run within a matter of minutes.
“The snow can be soft and buttery and fun at 2 pm and at 3:30 it can be survival skiing,” Lottmann said. He’s offering some fall prevention tips to those looking to visit the area in the coming weeks.
Lottmann imagines the two skiers are feeling a little sore, but are certainly among the lucky ones. Other falls along this same stretch have resulted in much more serious injuries, and even death. The guide has seen medical helicopters fly injured skiers from the area before and exactly six years prior to this fall, on April 1, 2012, a hiker was killed falling in this same area.