After getting lost while skiing out of bounds on Pico Mountain, 63-year-old Lyndon Mann of Royalton is safe.
On Dec. 22, authorities were notified around 7 p.m. that Mann was missing. Though they’d been told he was skiing, they weren’t sure where. Once his vehicle was found at Pico Mountain, a ground search began.
Officials from the Vermont State Police Search and Rescue Team, the Vermont Department of Fish and Wildlife, the Killington Search and Rescue, the Killington Fire Department, and ski patrollers from Killington Resort searched the area for hours, until they found Mann around 4:30 in the morning on the west side of Pico Mountain, beyond the ski area boundary.
He was uninjured, and could exit the woods under his own power.
Though he was certainly lucky, serious accidents are not as common as one might suppose. According to a National Ski Areas Association fact sheet, more than 40 people die each year on average as the result of winter sports accidents. Thus, the rate of fatality, is only 1.06 per million skier and snowboarder visit. The rate of serious injury — paralysis, serious head injury, and other serious injuries — is similar, coming in at about 44.7 per year on average.
Though they’re not too common, these statistics still show that they’re still a possible outcome, that bad things can still happen when skiing or snowboarding. Luckily, it’s possible to prevent such accidents. Privacy fences are often used on properties to keep adults, children, and pets inside a perimeter, and would be useful to ensure that skiiers don’t wander off — unintentionally or not — into areas where they’re not allowed, as Mann did.
Skiers can also be more cautious as well, taking the necessary steps to be safe as they glide along the slopes. According to the National Ski Patrol, skiers would be wise to prepare for the conditions, wear helmets to reduce risk of head injuries by up to 50 percent, and be wary of sudden weather changes.
And, of course, skiers could also learn a lesson from Mann’s incident.