It's a sad day for the skiing community as an out-of-bounds avalanche near Stevens Pass, WA took the lives of three skiers today, Sunday, February 19. The three deceased are Freeskiing World Tour head judge Jim Jack, Stevens Pass Director of Marketing Chris Rudolph and skier John Brenan, ESPN Freeskiing reports.
Professional skier Elyse Saugstad and ESPN Freeskiing Editor Megan Michelson were among the 13 skiers in the group. ESPN reports Michelson was not caught in the slide. Saugstad was reportedly carried between 2,000 and 3,000 vertical feet. In a statement on her blog, Saugstad credits her ABS Avalanche Airbag Backpack with saving her life.
The avalanche danger on Sunday was rated "High" above 5,000 feet by the Northwest Weather & Avalanche Center, and "Considerable" at lower elevations. Stevens Pass reported 14 inches of snow on Saturday night, and 26 inches total over the past 48 hours.