This weekend was a mix of emotion. Our son, Ryder, turned 4 on Saturday and all he wanted to do was to go snowmachining. We, of course, knew we had to make it happen. A little back story, we were originally going to head up to Hatcher Pass because its closer and Ryder would be happy no matter where we went as long as he got to ride. I got a text on Thursday about a guy that was in town looking to do a tour. His name is Pup and he works for a huge snowmachine operation in Wyoming. He was here for a convention in Anchorage and just wanted to ride in Alaska. We decided that our only free day was the day we were going to go to Hatcher’s, so we decided to move the location to Eureka so the big boys could enjoy riding just as much as our little guy would.
We get to Eureka and Ryder and so anxious to get dressed and ready,as you can see he was so cute! We had such a great time pulling the kids around on the sled behind the machine. The three kids were with me while the guys went out and rode. It wasn’t longer than an hour and a half before the guys came back. You may be wondering why I stated in the beginning that this weekend was a mix of emotion we were having such great time with the kids, I will get to it.
Before the guys came back the kids and I were hanging out in the lodge while they rode. While they were out the State Troopers showed up. I didn’t know why, I didn’t hear anyone saying anything, but there were a few of their cars/trucks out front. As the kids and I were gearing up again to head back inside we saw a Trooper helicopter flying over. As I saw the helicopter the guys were towing in a machine. Apparently they had been having machine trouble which made me feel a little better (whenever I see troopers vehicles and know my guys are in the area I can’t help but worry). They pulled up and the helicopter landed right in the Eureka parking lot. It stayed for a minute and then took off again. It was gone for a while before coming back and landing and shutting down. We were hoping that wasn’t anything too serious. We got loaded up and took the kids out for a couple more spins on the machines.
We decided that we were going to load up and head to Sheep Mountain Lodge for dinner, WHICH WAS AMAZING! Anyway as we drove by the helicopter you could see what looked like boots of a person laying in the rescue basket. Here is why it was a mix of emotions. We didn’t know what happened or what the extent of the man’s injuries might be. We proceeded to head to the lodge to eat. We enjoyed the rest of our night and enjoyed Pup’s company. After we got home the Troopers released a statement. There had been an avalanche right where our guys were heading! SCARY! It was so heart wrenching! There were 3 guys that got caught up in it and 1 ended up passing away. I felt sad, and relieved all at the same time! I can’t imagine getting that sort of news and I am so grateful we had machine issues! Our prayers go out to the family and friends who are suffering this loss. It made me feel the need to share this video with you all. It is important to remember that these mountains are bigger than we are. It is so important to do your homework and be aware of where you are riding. Please do this for your safety and the safety of all other snow enthusiasts as well!
I like what is said in this video – an avalanche is not like lightning striking – if we get educated and get the right gear hopefully we can avoid having as many deaths in avalanches.