It was a busy President’s Day holiday at Alyeska Ski Resort in Girdwood. But for some who work here, especially those who ski in the back country, it was a day of loss. Many know the three skiers who were killed in Sunday’s avalanche near Seattle.
“It was a big shocker to the whole snow community for sure,” said Brad Cosgrove who works as a guide for Chugach Powder Guides, which takes skiers to back country slopes by helicopter.
Cosgrove also knows the Girdwood woman who survived, Elyse Saugstad, who credits an avalanche airbag backpack with saving her life.
Saugstad told the Seattle Times that Sunday’s snow slide carried her 2,000 feet down the mountain. When she landed, she was completely buried, except for her head and hands, which is exactly what an avalanche airbag is supposed to do – increase your chances of landing on top of the avalanche, where you can be rescued quickly and easily found.