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Off-duty firefighters initiate rescue of Colo. skier after 2,000-foot fall

Firefighters in the Skywalker Couloir area saw the skier fall, called 911 and descended to reach the injured man

By Nicole Dorfman
Daily Camera

BOULDER COUNTY, Colo. — A skier was rescued on Sunday after sliding up to 2,000 feet while attempting to descend Skywalker Couloir.

According to a release, at 10:37 a.m. Sunday, Boulder County Communications was notified of a skier who had sustained serious injuries in the area of Skywalker Couloir on South Arapahoe Peak west of Nederland.

The 47-year-old man was beginning a ski descent of the couloir when he fell, sliding and tumbling around 1,000 to 2,000 feet down on the snowfield before coming to a stop at a rock ledge.

Two off-duty firefighters recreating in the area witnessed the fall and were able to call 911, according to the release. They also descended to where the injured man had stopped and were able to provide first aid and relay information to the responding rescue teams.

According to the release, rescuers and medical personnel from Rocky Mountain Rescue Group were flown near the scene by MedEvac before climbing the rest of the way to the scene.

They were also assisted by other bystanders who helped carry equipment to the scene and additional rescuers hiked in from the Fourth of July Trailhead bringing additional equipment.

Rescuers were able to place the skier in a full-body vacuum splint, and he was hoisted from the scene and transported by helicopter to Nederland Middle and Senior High School. The skier was then transported by ambulance to a local hospital.

According to the release, the skier sustained serious injuries but “remained stable throughout the incident.”

Assisting agencies involved with this rescue effort include the Boulder County Sheriff’s Office, Boulder County Parks and Open Space, Nederland Fire Protection District, the Rocky Mountain Rescue Group, the Colorado Search and Rescue Association, the Colorado Hoist Rescue Team, MedEvac, and American Medical Response.

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