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The original item was published from 2/4/2019 11:53:59 AM to 2/4/2019 11:56:09 AM.

News Flash

Sheriff's Office

Posted on: February 4, 2019

[ARCHIVED] Backcountry Winter Hazards

Flagstaff, AZ – On February 3, 2019
at approximately 5:00 PM the Coconino County Sheriff’s Office Search and RescueUnit responded to a report of an overdue skier who had left the ski area
boundary at Arizona Snowbowl and entered the Kachina Peaks Wilderness. Theskier, a 16-year-old male from Flagstaff, became separated from his group and
the rest of the group returned to the Arizona Snowbowl where they made thereport to the Arizona Snowbowl Ski Patrol. The skier was reported to be
equipped with only his skis and cell phone and no other survival equipment. Atthe time the report was made, it appeared that the skier’s cell phone had been
powered off or had run out of battery.

The Coconino County Sheriff’s
Office Search and Rescue Unit along with the Arizona Snowbowl Ski Patrolinitiated an investigation and search for the skier. At approximately 5:45 PM
the Sheriff’s Office located the skier on Snowbowl Road at approximatelymilepost 3. The skier was uninjured and was provided a ride to the Agassiz
Lodge to be reunited with his family and friends. While this situation turnedout well, it had the potential to be a dangerous situation for the skier.
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This incident was the third lost
out of bounds skier / snowboarder call received by either the Sheriff’s Officeor the Arizona Snowbowl Ski Patrol on Sunday. With the recent snowfall and the
expected heavy snow through mid-week, it is expected that more skiers andsnowboarders may elect to ski out of bounds. Skiing or snowboarding outside of
the ski area boundary carries with it some risk. The area outside of theArizona Snowbowl boundary is not patrolled and avalanche mitigation is not
conducted in the Kachina Peaks Wilderness. Most skiers and snowboarders wholeave the ski area boundary intend to return to the ski area, but terrain tends
to force them to the south and away from the ski area.

Those who recreate outside of the
Arizona Snowbowl boundary should carry the following equipment; extra food andwater, extra warm clothing, navigation equipment (map, compass, and GPS),
headlamp, first aid kit, shelter material (large leaf bag or space blanket),fire starting kit or backpacking stove, pocket knife/multi-tool, whistle,
avalanche beacon, avalanche probe, backcountry shovel, and a cell phone with aback-up battery pack.

Wilderness users should also avoid traveling alone. Education about the winter
backcountry hazards including avalanche should be sought out. Avalanches oftenoccur within 24 hours of a storm and heavy snowfall amounts over a short period
of time, high winds which deposit snow in starting zones, or signs ofinstability in the snowpack warrant concern in the backcountry.

The Kachina Peaks Avalanche Center offers weekly snowpack summaries that
highlight the hazards in the snowpack as well as offer educational classesabout avalanche. More information about the snowpack summary and courses
available can be found at
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A free Kachina Peaks Winter
Backcountry Permit is required for backcountry travel in the Kachina PeaksWilderness when accessing the Wilderness from Arizona Snowbowl and along the
Snowbowl Road at Viet Spring and Friedlein Prairie Road. The permit can beobtained from the U.S. Forest Service and more information about the permit can
be found at

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