ANCHORAGE, Alaska, Dec. 31 (UPI) -- An Alaskan skier escaped an avalanche with only a compound leg fracture despite being swept 1,500 feet down a mountainside.
Rory Stark, 36, suffered a compound fracture to his leg when an avalanche first hit him near the Turnagin Pass in Anchorage, the Anchorage (Alaska) Daily News reported Monday.
"He told the trooper that when (the avalanche) stopped it was almost like concrete and he was under the snow and couldn't breathe," said Alaskan state trooper spokeswoman Megan Peters. "Then it kept going and it spit him out on top. So he was very lucky."
Stark, who won the 2005 Alaska Wilderness Classic, was back country skiing in the Chugach National Forest when his team recognized conditions favored an avalanche and descended the terrain one-by-one. Stark's attempt triggered the avalanche, the Daily News said.
Lisa Portune with the Chugach National Forest Avalanche Information Center said snow conditions in the area resulted in at least five human-triggered avalanches recently.
"Skiing and riding steep slopes with a deep slab instability like we have right now is similar to playing Russian roulette," Portune said.
A rescue team had to send a helicopter to hoist Stark from the area.