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Mammoth Mountain ski patroller survives avalanche

December 17, 2008 |  7:04 pm

A Mammoth Mountain ski patroller is nursing sore ribs and his back but is otherwise OK and lucky to be alive after being swept up and partially buried by an avalanche at the Eastern Sierra resort.

Call it a Christmas miracle for Corey Denton, a four-year veteran.

The incident occurred early Tuesday afternoon near Dragon's Tail above Chair 9. Denton and another patroller were ski-cutting, or using their skis to trigger avalanches in preparation for the opening of that portion of terrain to skiers and snowboarders.

The snow broke loose above Denton, however, and took him on a 1,000-foot ride down the slope. He managed to keep his head above the snow but at some point slammed into a tree.

His partner never lost sight of Denton, radioed in the position and rushed to the victim, who was only partially buried and coherent. He was taken to Mammoth Hospital, where he was treated for cracked ribs and a sore back and then released.

Mammoth has received more than four feet of snow since Monday.

—Pete Thomas

 

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