A skier who was testing snow conditions near Haines for an international ski competition was injured in an avalanche Wednesday morning, according to state troopers.
Scott Sundberg of Haines has non-life threatening injuries and is being treated at the Haines clinic.
Sundberg, 40, is co-owner of heliski company Southeast Alaska Backcountry Adventures or SEABA. The company is working with the Freeride World Tour to host a competition in the mountains near Haines this weekend. Organizers say the event will continue as scheduled.
Trooper spokesperson Megan Peters says Sundberg was with a group from his company and skiing a maneuver called a “hard carve” to test snow conditions when an avalanche was triggered. He was the only person caught in the slide.
Sundberg was partially buried with his head under the snow. People with him quickly located and uncovered him and he regained consciousness. A SEABA helicopter transported him to the Haines airport where he was met by an ambulance.
“The really good part about this and a really good take-a-way is yes, they were in the backcountry,” Peters said. “An avalanche was triggered. But there were other people on the scene. They had proper safety equipment. They were able to quickly locate the person and transport him to help and the person appears to be OK.”
Peters said Sundberg was wearing proper safety gear, including an airbag, but she couldn’t confirm if it was deployed.
The group with Sundberg included Freeride organizers. They were scouting locations for Saturday’s event. The Freeride World Tour is one of the largest big mountain ski and snowboard competitions in the world. The competition includes 36 international athletes and about 100 event staff. The tour has five international stops this winter. This will be the only U.S. stop this year and the first time the competition takes place in Alaska.