Carson City man recovering after being buried in avalanche |

Carson City man recovering after being buried in avalanche

Kurt Hildebrand
Nevada Appeal News Service

A Carson City skier is recovering at Renown Medical Center in Reno after being buried in an avalanche on Sunday.

Darren Johnson, 47, was skiing with a partner near Crater Lake when he triggered the avalanche.

“When the friend didn’t see him come out, he knew something was wrong,” said Alpine County Sheriff’s Office Lt. Ron Michitarian. “He skied down and found his poles stick out of the debris field.”

Michitarian said it took about seven minutes to dig Johnson out. Johnson was conscious, but unresponsive and had a head injury. The avalanche occurred at about 9:30 a.m.

Johnson’s partner left him at the scene and skied nearly two hours to get to Highway 88, where he flagged down a deputy near Crater Wash at about 11:20 a.m., just east of Red Lake.

Michitarian said deputies on snow patrol in the Blue Lakes area responded on snowmobiles.

By 12:20 p.m. a Calstar helicopter spotted Johnson and by 1:30 p.m. the California Highway Patrol’s H-20 helicopter lowered a paramedic into the scene, who checked Johnson out. Johnson was loaded into a Bowman bag and airlifted by the CHP to Blue Lakes.

CalStar then flew Johnson to Reno where he is stable in the intensive care unit.

In addition to CalStar and the California Highway Patrol, units from the Alpine County Sheriff’s Office, Alpine County Search & Rescue, Woodfords Volunteer Fire Department and the South Lake Tahoe Fire Department responded to the incident.

The Sierra Avalanche Center of the Tahoe National Forest is reporting isolated pockets of moderate avalanche danger on steeper northeast slopes above the tree line.