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Two fatalities in Niseko (late January 2013)

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#1
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http://www.snowjapan.../niseko-now.php

The avalanche report:

There have been 2 fatal accidents yesterday. In both cases, the Niseko Rules has been ignored and disrespected. It is really sad to apprehend this reality.

Both victims fell into a crack and lost their lives. Dangers about cracks have been repeatedly mentioned in this information, but ended up in vain.

Disrespecting, ignoring or criticizing this Information or the Niseko Rules is not a problem as long as people take care of themselves and avoid thoughtless actions that could lead to serious accidents. It is a very sad morning. May their souls rest in peace.

倶知安町とニセコ町で、スキー客がスキー場が管理していない山林などに入って、死亡する事故が27日から相次ぎ警察で注意を呼びかけています。
27日、午後2時半すぎ、倶知安町花園のスキー場「ニセコHANAZONOリゾート」で、フィンランドから訪れていた会社役員のリンナマ・テロさん(45)がスキー場がコースとして管理していない山林の中で倒れているのが見つかりまもなく死亡が確認されました。警察の調べによりますと、テロさんが亡くなった山林は、スキー客が入らないようにゲートが設けられていますが、テロさんのスキー仲間の1人は、「管理されていない場所とわかっていたが、ゲートが開いていたので中に入って滑っていた」と話しているということです。また、28日、午前1時すぎにはニセコ町東山のスキー場、「ニセコビレッジ」で、ニセコ町の自営業、佐々木昌己さん(59)が、立入禁止区域になっている沢の中で倒れて死亡しているのが見つかりました。佐々木さんは27日昼すぎから1人でスキーに出かけていたということです。警察ではそれぞれの事故について、現場の状況や死因などを詳しく調べるとともに、スキー場が管理している安全な場所でスキーを行うように注意を呼びかけています。 

It seems:
1 person from Finland outside of the Hanazono area - apparently 'the gate was open' and so he went.
1 Japanese local found outside of Niseko Village resort area bounds.

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#2
@tokyo

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In previous thread:

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gg: Serious question - do many people go places they shouldn't? Or do most people respect those rules?

MikePow: The former unfortunately. And many without the equipment, skills or experience.

me: They do this understanding that they shouldn't go there? Do patrol etc not do anything about it?
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#3
MikePow

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In my opinion there's a big disconnect in the recreational skier / snowboarder's mind as to what is and isn't 'safe' in the Niseko Resort Area.

My take on things is many assume that if the gates are open then everything is OK.

Many are oblivious to the dangers beyond the ropes and through the gates.

#4
Saitaman

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Sad to hear that.
Perhaps the local (?) in particular should have known better.

#5
7-11

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So were these people going to areas that are actually ok? There were gates, right? Or are these gates in this case there to stop people from going.
Sorry, never been up there.
ii kibun

#6
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Not knowing where they got into trouble, but the gates are dotted around the perimeter and have the avi report posted up. If they are open it still says that caution should be taken and that riders are doing so at their own risk. I assume since they said they broke the rules it means they were riding in a roped off area or past the gate (if it was closed)
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anything

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View Post7-11, on 28 January 2013 - 10:16 AM, said:

So were these people going to areas that are actually ok? There were gates, right? Or are these gates in this case there to stop people from going.
Sorry, never been up there.


the avi report is constantly talking about people ducking ropes. so it sounds like they went out a closed gate or ducked the ropes into the gated area.


as far as i saw, the gates were closed all of yesterday. with the huge wind and drifts i reckon it would have been pretty lousy conditions anyway.

I didn't think they did much with cracks. most of the time they arent marked or fenced (nor do I think ski patrol are responsible to), with so many unprepared / reckless skiers it might have happened anyway.

#8
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View Postanything, on 28 January 2013 - 10:58 AM, said:

View Post7-11, on 28 January 2013 - 10:16 AM, said:

So were these people going to areas that are actually ok? There were gates, right? Or are these gates in this case there to stop people from going.
Sorry, never been up there.


the avi report is constantly talking about people ducking ropes. so it sounds like they went out a closed gate or ducked the ropes into the gated area.


as far as i saw, the gates were closed all of yesterday. with the huge wind and drifts i reckon it would have been pretty lousy conditions anyway.

I didn't think they did much with cracks. most of the time they arent marked or fenced (nor do I think ski patrol are responsible to), with so many unprepared / reckless skiers it might have happened anyway.


They don’t have to have been ducking ropes to fall into cracks. I was up in Niseko two weeks ago and I observed huge cracks on steep slopes along the route from the top of Hirafu to the bottom of Hanazono. It may have even have been the same place the Finnish person fell into a crack. The gates were open that day. The next day the avalanche forecast reported cracks forming on the steep slopes and said to beware of them as some were up to 4m deep. The gates were open that day too if I remember correctly.

Once you go out of the gates you are in dangerous terrain so you have to be careful. You may also observe hazards before the avalanche forecast reports them, if they are reported at all, so you should always be wary. When you are out of bounds you are essentially on your own. You (or your group) are your own rescue. It sounds like the individuals who sadly passed away were out on their own so they couldn’t self rescue. This goes to show that you should always travel in the backcountry with other people. You can’t rely on patrol to save you, you have to have friends with you who have your back.

It's hard to know what happened though as there aren't enough details. Did they die from injuries when they fell, were they stuck, or did they asphyxiate under snow that fell on top of them?

Sobering stuff anyway.

#9
Chriselle

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Sobering indeed. So, other than obviously not being there... what is the proper preparation for getting out of a crack...not that I know what that really is. It's disconcerting because most of the northern Europeans seem to be decked out and carrying huge packs...thus assuming prepared. :shifty:
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panhead_pete

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Man I feel sorry for the Ski Patrol and all others involved with the recoveries. 2x in one day is TERRIBLE. Having been involved with one fatality on mountain and a couple elsewhere, dead people suck :(

This incident is sobering stuff. Last year I rode out the gates a few times by myself and learnt that it was a dumb idea the easy way and wont do that again. The inexperienced (me at the time, less so now) do think that if the gates are open and there are a LOT of people around that its relatively safe. Older or wiser hands know better.

Chriselle last week the Hakuba guys had to use rope to get a guy out of a large 2m+ deep hole. I wasnt there but saw a pic and was chatting with one of the guys in the group. Flat rope is now going into my pack. Ive also seen belts with the 2 D rings worn for similar reasons.

To answer your question re getting out, if I was to come across someone in that predicament having been part of ERT at work my 1st priority would be to make sure that no one else went in and secure the overall site. Unless the person in the crack was in further danger or rapidly declining condition I wouldnt try a rescue unless it was obvious it could be conducted safely and not further endanger the person or others. Instead I would send others (min 2) for Ski Patrol then assist as requested when they arrive. Now if you question was how would you get out if it was you and on your own, no real idea. Use your whilstle etc ???
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#11
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Two in a day, yikes.
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Chriselle

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View Postpanhead_pete, on 28 January 2013 - 11:44 AM, said:

Man I feel sorry for the Ski Patrol and all others involved with the recoveries. 2x in one day is TERRIBLE. Having been involved with one fatality on mountain and a couple elsewhere, dead people suck :(

This incident is sobering stuff. Last year I rode out the gates a few times by myself and learnt that it was a dumb idea the easy way and wont do that again. The inexperienced (me at the time, less so now) do think that if the gates are open and there are a LOT of people around that its relatively safe. Older or wiser hands know better.

Chriselle last week the Hakuba guys had to use rope to get a guy out of a large 2m+ deep hole. Flat rope is now going into my pack. Ive also seen belts with the 2 D rings worn for similar reasons.

To answer your question re getting out, if I was to come across someone in that predicament having been part of ERT at work my 1st priority would be to make sure that no one else went in and secure the overall site. Unless the person in the crack was in further danger or rapidly declining condition I wouldnt try a rescue unless it was obvious it could be conducted safely and not further endanger the person or others. Instead I would send others (min 2) for Ski Patrol then assist as requested when they arrive. Nor if you question was how would you get out if it was you, no real idea. Use your whilstle etc ???


So in that case Pete .... being prepared means being with at least one buddy. It seems to me getting out of a 2+meter hole by yourself would be daunting even with all the appropriate BC gear.
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#13
panhead_pete

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Yeah agreed mate.The guy in Hakuba was with a group so besides cold feet and some shame was apparently ok. This year I have a new plan, albiet a tad expensive. BC tours etc for those days outside the ropes. Only time I'll be on my own is on resort and even then its not ideal and I'll certainly endeavour to find others to ride with. Im not embarrasessed to say I still have much to learn and have been silly in the past.
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#14
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With out doubt the first priority is being seen getting into trouble (but not getting into trouble is preferable). This means having at least on buddy but also being able to see that buddy at all times. This can be hard if you are following standard avi precautions and not entering the slope at the same time. Therefore having 2 buddies is better. One top, one bottom (in safe ground).

Two incidents as example, both last week. The first, believe it or not was on the Family run! I was just trying my hand at that most ridiculous and masochistic of past times; teaching my spouse to snowboard and a youngish (10-11) child boarded past us and was going to carve the high bank on skiers right, bordering the trees, just as you pass the Alpen. A lot of snow dropped out about a metre into a hot spot under the bank and the boarder fell butt first into the hole so only the top of the board was barely visible.

This boarder was under a very large overhang of snow on the bank... fortunately it did not let go, it could have easily. I don't think anyone but my partner and I saw the boarder hit the hole and go in. but a few saw them stuck and screaming for help as I went over to help. Plenty of people rode right past as I tried to drag them out, at first fruitlessly as more snow dropped into the hole, but I got them out in the end after a couple of minutes hoping the snow above did not fall on them. Seriously I rode away thinking if just a very small amount of snow had of dropped from the snow bank onto that boarder the ending could have been far worse, and I am not one to catastrophise. Despite my repeated notice to the lift ops it took them 2 more days to put up some poles in front of the hole. I should have gone to ski patrol not the lift op.

2nd example: while out riding BC with a group we heard cries for help... at first thinking it was just someone in a separate group stuck in snow calling out to another in the group we made our way down to check and make sure. A skier had some serious injuries after hitting a tree, they had taken the run first and then their buddy went down as per good practice. On reaching the bottom the buddy could not see the first skier anywhere... then faintly heard crying and had to boot pack (maybe they skinned) straight back up the slope, lucky to find the injured skier before they lost conscientiousness... we came by about 30min later and they would likely have been in dire straits had we not taken that same gully run.

Moral is one buddy at least, preferably 2. Keep sight of at least one other at all times... the more I go out the more I respect how EASILY things can go from glorious to potentially fatal in one turn.

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Bad news glide cracks can be very dangerous. They can form at any time really.

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RIP . More details would be good to know.
In japan may 3-25

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Why?

#18
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View Postgnarly-dude, on 28 January 2013 - 02:53 PM, said:

Why?

So others dont make the same mistakes????
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#19
gozaimaas

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exactly
In japan may 3-25

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And what details do you exactly think you would get from this?
The exact place it happened?
What he was wearing, or what he had for breakfast that day?
Would you avoid that place in future?
Course you wouldn't. If you were going to go there anyway, you would.
Another day another condition.

Stop talking nonsense.
You just want some gory details of how someone else died. That about sums it up.
What this person exactly did would have absolutely no impact on your own actions.







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