A backcountry skier dies on a day of accidents on New Hampshire’s unforgiving Mount Washington

Mar 10, 2024, 4:56 PM | Updated: 5:01 pm

FILE - Tuckerman Ravine is seen at left, about one mile below the summit of 6,288-foot Mount Washin...

FILE - Tuckerman Ravine is seen at left, about one mile below the summit of 6,288-foot Mount Washington, in New Hampshire, Monday, May 4, 2015. (AP Photo/Robert F. Bukaty, File)

(AP Photo/Robert F. Bukaty, File)

MEREDITH, N.H. (AP) — The steep bowl at Tuckerman Ravine on New Hampshire’s Mount Washington has long made it a favorite spot for expert skiers and snowboarders who are seeking adventure beyond the comparative safety of the state’s ski areas.

But hard and icy conditions on Saturday turned the bowl deadly.

Madison Saltsburg, 20, died after falling about 600 vertical feet (183 meters) down the ravine in the afternoon, according to the U.S. Forest Service. Two other skiers suffered serious injuries after falling and hitting rocks and ice. And there were a number of other falls witnessed throughout the day which didn’t result in serious injuries, the service said.

A telephone message to a forest service spokesperson seeking information about Saltsburg wasn’t immediately returned Sunday.

The day of accidents prompted search efforts that continued for hours in the dark as teams worked to rescue the injured skiers and remove Saltsburg’s body from the mountain. Heavy, wet snow started to fall Saturday night and winds began to pick up, forcing the rescuers to battle on through the worsening conditions.

“The snow rangers and emergency personnel were up there late last night. They’re exhausted,” said Colleen Mainville, a spokesperson with the U.S. Forest Service.

Tuckerman Ravine is particularly popular in the spring, when the sun begins to soften the snow. On some days, hundreds of skiers and snowboarders make the 3-mile (5-kilometer) hike to the ravine, resulting in a festive atmosphere. From there it can take another hour to kick boot steps in the wall to get to the top.

Several deaths reported over the years

But risks — including open crevasses, avalanches and rocks — have resulted in several deaths over the years.

The Forest Service said Saltsburg and her skiing companion encountered hard and icy snow surfaces due to cold temperatures and a lack of recent snowfall. There were also open crevasse holes on the mountain, the service said, and conditions were unforgiving.

Forest Service rangers and a team from the Mount Washington Avalanche Center also responded to two other skiers who suffered severe injuries that weren’t life-threatening, Mainville said.

At 6,288 feet (1,916.6 meters), Mount Washington is the tallest peak in the Northeast and is notorious for its fickle weather. It is the sight of frequent rescues.

Just the previous night, on Friday, a 23-year-old hiker from Kentucky was rescued from the mountain after going off trail and into the Ammonoosuc Ravine, New Hampshire Fish and Game reported.

The hiker “fell and hit his head and face, lost one of his sneakers, and eventually became hypothermic,” the agency said in a statement.

“He was given boots, food, warm drink, proper winter gear, and a headlamp. He was then escorted back to the trail and then to the Cog Railway parking lot,” the agency said.

Another hiker who was rescued from the Ammonoosuc Ravine in February described his 11-hour ordeal to The Associated Press, acknowledging he had made some poor decisions and was underprepared for his hike, and crediting rescuers with saving his life.

KSL 5 TV Live

National News

An artist's illustration depicts Voyager 1 as it travels through interstellar space, or the space b...

Ashley Strickland, CNN

Voyager 1 is sending data back to Earth for the first time in 5 months

For the first time in five months, NASA engineers have received decipherable data from Voyager 1 after crafting a creative solution to fix a communication problem aboard humanity’s most distant spacecraft in the cosmos.

2 hours ago

WASHINGTON - APRIL 14:  Activists line Wisconsin Avenue during a vigil outside the residence of Vic...

Matthew Barakat, Associated Press

Jury deliberating in Iraq Abu Ghraib prison abuse civil case; contractor casts blame on Army

A lawyer for a military contractor being sued by three survivors of the notorious Abu Ghraib prison in Iraq says the plaintiffs are suing the wrong people.

4 hours ago

This image provided by the Topeka Zoo shows Karen, an ostrich at the Topeka Zoo in Topeka, Kan. The...

Associated Press

An adored ostrich at a Kansas zoo has died after swallowing a staff member’s keys

A beloved ostrich at the Topeka Zoo & Conservation Center in Kansas has died after swallowing a staff member's keys.

5 hours ago

Layton Utah temple photo show with others in Utah announced at West Jordan and Lehi...


Three temple locations, including West Jordan and Lehi, announced

Today, the locations for three temples — two in Utah, West Jordan and Lehi, and one in Florida — were announced.

5 hours ago

Some of Taylor Swift's most beloved songs are heart breaking -- and that can be helpful, experts sa...

Madeline Holcombe, CNN

Why everyone is crying to Taylor’s breakup songs

Fans were waiting with bated breath for the emotional torment they were sure would come from “The Tortured Poets Department,” Taylor Swift’s 11th studio album.

5 hours ago

FILE: A Brightline train is seen at the new MiamiCentral terminal during the inaugural trip from Mi...

Ken Ritter

Work starts on bullet train rail line from Sin City to the City of Angels

A $12 billion high-speed passenger rail line between Las Vegas and the Los Angeles area has started construction.

7 hours ago

Sponsored Articles

Women hold card for scanning key card to access Photocopier Security system concept...

Les Olson

Why Printer Security Should Be Top of Mind for Your Business

Connected printers have vulnerable endpoints that are an easy target for cyber thieves. Protect your business with these tips.

Modern chandelier hanging from a white slanted ceiling with windows in the backgruond...

Lighting Design

Light Up Your Home With These Top Lighting Trends for 2024

Check out the latest lighting design trends for 2024 and tips on how you can incorporate them into your home.

Technician woman fixing hardware of desktop computer. Close up....

PC Laptops

Tips for Hassle-Free Computer Repairs

Experiencing a glitch in your computer can be frustrating, but with these tips you can have your computer repaired without the stress.

Close up of finger on keyboard button with number 11 logo...

PC Laptops

7 Reasons Why You Should Upgrade Your Laptop to Windows 11

Explore the benefits of upgrading to Windows 11 for a smoother, more secure, and feature-packed computing experience.

Stylish room interior with beautiful Christmas tree and decorative fireplace...

Lighting Design

Create a Festive Home with Our Easy-to-Follow Holiday Prep Guide

Get ready for festive celebrations! Discover expert tips to prepare your home for the holidays, creating a warm and welcoming atmosphere for unforgettable moments.

Battery low message on mobile device screen. Internet and technology concept...

PC Laptops

9 Tips to Get More Power Out of Your Laptop Battery

Get more power out of your laptop battery and help it last longer by implementing some of these tips from our guide.

A backcountry skier dies on a day of accidents on New Hampshire’s unforgiving Mount Washington