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Mountain News: Skiers survive scary falls



BANFF, Alberta — Two skiers in Banff National Park probably didn't listen to their mothers very well when they said, "Stay away from the edge."

In the two separate incidents, the skiers fell off the sides of mountains when cornices — the overhanging snow and ice on a mountain ridge — gave way under their feet.

Grant Statham, visitor safety officer for the national park, told the

Rocky Mountain Outlook it was "just amazing" that both survived.

One man, in his mid-30s, walked away with bruises and scratches after he fell 100 to 150 metres. The cornice collapsed and the man fell onto a 50-degree slope of snow and rocks. He lost all equipment save for one ski, which he used to brake himself. He had been in a party of 10 people skiing in whiteout conditions.

The other victim fared worse, suffering a broken leg and back injuries, after tumbling nearly 500 metres through steep, rocky areas. This was in the off-piste area at the Sunshine ski area. He had taken a peek over the edge — the nearly fatal mistake.

Wandering onto thin ice undoes dozens of Wyoming elk

ALPINE, Wyo. — In late March, as many as 50 elk wandered onto the thin ice of Palisade Reservoir, which straddles the Idaho-Wyoming border, holding back the Snake River. Then the ice gave away. All apparently died.

The Jackson Hole News&Guide described it as an "unusual but natural occurrence," and pointed to something similar in late December in Colorado. In that case, about 20 died after falling through the ice in Echo Canyon Reservoir near Pagosa Springs.

A local resident, John Stephenson, told the News&Guide that as a hunter he found it kind of a waste. "I'd like to see those on dinner plates rather than thrown out in the river."

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