March 17, 2012

A skier fell near the top of the Chute, slid to about the Narrows and then “log-rolled” before finally stopping about 200′ above and right Gumdrop Rocks. Witnesses reported that the skier, who was skiing for his first time in Tuckerman Ravine, took about 2 turns and pre-released from the binding of one ski.  Mount Washington Volunteer Ski Patrol members and USFS Snow Rangers responded, treated and packaged the patient who was unconscious and seizing on arrival.  It is unclear whether or not he impacted any rocks during the fall.

Due to the presentation of symptoms and the calm winds, a helicopter evacuation was ordered.  Lifeflight of Maine, flying out of Bangor, transported the patient to Maine Med in Portland. The ability to fly into Tuckerman Ravine is very unusual due to the preponderance of days with turbulence,  high winds, limited visibility, limited landing options or all four factors at once.  Fortunately, a relatively limited number of skiers were in the bowl, which reduced the risk and consequence of mishap with the helicopter.