Video of couple's Tuckerman Ravine slide goes viral

By MEGHAN McCARTHY McPHAUL
Special to the Union Leader
April 03. 2018 9:32PM

The circle indicates the two skiers in the midst of their 500-foot slide into the bowl of Mount Washington's Tuckerman Ravine on Sunday. (COURTESY NORTHEASTALPINESTART.COM)

The skiers who tumbled some 500 feet down Mount Washington’s Tuckerman Ravine on Sunday apparently survived the slide unscathed.

“We did not receive a request for assistance,” said Ryan Matz, a snow ranger with the Mount Washington Avalanche Center. “This kind of accident is a close call, and they were lucky they did not fall above something more hazardous.”

The incident was recorded by David Lottmann, a guide with Jackson-based Northeast Mountaineering, who was in the ravine leading an American Institute for Avalanche Research and Education course.

Lottmann’s video has been shared widely on social media and picked up by national media.

Lottmann said the two skiers in the video, a man and a woman, had climbed up Right Gully and seemed to look down both the Sluice and the Lip sections of Tuckerman Ravine before deciding to descend the latter route on skis.

The uphill skier lost an edge and slid into the downhill skier, sending both of them on an uncontrolled slide to the bottom of the ravine.

Members of Lottmann’s group were prepared to offer assistance, but the couple seemed unhurt. Lottmann said the man actually hiked nearly all the way back up the ravine to retrieve a ski he had lost in the slide down. The woman seemed shaken up, but otherwise OK.

Matz said it was lucky the pair fell in a place where they did not slide into rocks or brush, which could have resulted in significant injury.

VIDEO: Two skiers fall down Tuckerman Ravine, courtesy David Lottmann:



Tuckerman Ravine is a favorite backcountry ski destination, especially during the spring. The conditions over the weekend and early this week, however, were not the soft snow many skiers expect during this time of year. Below-freezing temperatures following several freeze-thaw cycles have left a hard, icy surface in the ravine.

The Mount Washington Avalanche Center posts daily avalanche advisories, updated snow conditions, and weather forecasts. Matz encourages skiers to check the website (www.mountwashingtonavalanchecenter.org) before heading into Tuckerman Ravine.

“Conditions can change very quickly. That’s what I assume the situation was here,” he said. “When we have relatively cold air temperatures, snow that is soft can refreeze really quickly.”

To accompany the video, Lottmann also wrote a post titled “Tech Tip — How Not to Fall while Skiing Tuckerman Ravine,” on his blog: www.northeastalpinestart.com.


OutdoorsPublic SafetySkiingMt. Washington

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