Skier tumbles 1,000 feel down Mount Washington after boot releases from binding

  • In this Monday, May 4, 2015 photo, Tuckerman Ravine is seen at the left, about one mile below the summit of 6,288-foot Mount Washington in New Hampshire. Tuckerman Ravine, the birthplace of extreme skiing in the United States is a bucket-list destination for snow-loving thrill-seekers. (AP Photo/Robert F. Bukaty) Robert F. Bukaty

By Monitor staff
Published: 4/5/2021 12:50:40 PM

A 61-year old Delaware man tumbled approximately 1,000 feet Saturday down a steep ski trail known as the Main Gully in Mount Washington's Gulf of Slides.

Arild Hestvik, of Newark, Delaware had climbed to the top of the steep chute and was prepared to ski down. 

“Hestvik reported that his boot released from his binding before he even made his first turn, causing him to fall the full length of Main Gully,” said Frank Carus, Lead Snow Ranger with the Mount Washington Avalanche Center.

Calls for help came in around  4:00 PM, on Saturday and snow rangers called in Dartmouth Hitchcock’s emergency helicopter, hoping they could find a suitable landing zone near Hestvik. But due to the height of the trees and limited open space, the helicopter was unable to land.

When first responders reached Hestvik, they reported he sustained multiple injuries but was stable.

With fading light, a call was made to get the National Guard Helicopter, which equipped with a cable hoist that can be used to pluck a patient off the ground without landing. But encroaching darkness prevented that as an option.

Ultimately, Hestvik was transported in a rescue litter by land, down the Gulf of Slides trail, which is on the south-east side of Mount Washington.

Hestvik arrived at the Pinkham Notch parking area around 9 p.m. and was taken by ambulance to the hospital where he was treated for his injuries. 

“US Forest Service would like to stress that with the current snow conditions are very firm with long, sliding falls possible,” rescuers said in a statement. 

Those planning to back country ski this spring are encouraged to check conditions at  www.mountwashingtonavalachecenter.org.




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