Matt Nelson: I am truly blessed to be a part of such a great mountain community |

Matt Nelson: I am truly blessed to be a part of such a great mountain community

To the Editor:

Dear Fraser Valley Community,

On New Years Day I had the misfortune of triggering an avalanche while skiing above the Second Creek basin of Berthoud Pass.

Thanks to a shallow snowpack, a great backcountry ski partner, and a lot of luck I survived the 400 foot slide down the mountain with relatively minor injuries, eventually coming to a stop with my head above the large pile of fallen snow. I would like to take a moment to thank the friends, neighbors, and strangers who helped me after the slide.

My partner in the backcountry Chris did everything right that day, from yelling at me with fair warning when the snow fractured to digging me quickly out of the debris field and splinting my broken arm. His efforts greatly increased my chances for survival and recovery. Thanks Chris!

Grand County Search and Rescue arrived within a half an hour of the avalanche after 911 cell phone calls from bystanders near the new Second Creek cabin alerted emergency responders. I would like to thank the anonymous callers and the entire GC Search and Rescue crew for their rapid response to my emergency.

I was also surprised to see an emergency flight helicopter appear on the horizon shortly after the arrival of GC Search and Rescue. The helicopter crew had me airborne and on my way to the trauma unit at St. Anthony’s Hospital in Lakewood within minutes. I am very grateful to Kevin and the rest of the Summit County based Flight-for-Life crew for their efforts.

While the injuries that I sustained in the avalanche were not life threatening, they could have worsened quickly if I had not received such immediate medical attention. The residents of the Fraser Valley are fortunate to have such a skilled and vigilant group of guardians in the backcountry. I cannot thank them enough.

After the rescue from Berthoud Pass I spent a long week recovering at the hospital in Lakewood. Those difficult days were brightened for me by an outpouring of well wishes from the Fraser Valley. I would like to thank all my friends and neighbors who I have skied and worked with for their loving concern and attention. I am truly blessed to be a part of such a great mountain community. I will see you all on the slopes again soon.

Matt Nelson


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