Backcountry Skier Killed in New Hampshire Avalanche

On Wednesday night  New Hampshire Search and Rescue teams found the body of  a backcountry skier buried under 13 feet of snow in an avalanche slide. The team, along with members of the U.S. Forest Service and Mountain Rescue Services had been looking for the skier since Tuesday night after friends reported him missing.

Ian Forgays, 54, of Lincoln, Vt.,  was an experienced backcountry skier who had planned to ski Ammonoosuc Ravine drainage (pictured above) or Monroe Brook drainage  in the White Mountains on Monday.

According to a release by New Hampshire Fish & Game, on Wednesday morning his car was found at the trailhead parking lot at Ammonoosuc Ravine and teams began heading up the two drainages, despite avalanche danger, to look for him. At 4:30 pm they detected an avalanche beacon signal and dug down through 13 feet of compacted snow and debris to find the body.

“Backcountry skiing is a risky venture that should only be attempted by the most prepared and experienced skiers,” New Hampshire Fish & Game said in a press release. “This skier did have years of experience and was prepared, which was evident by his use of an avalanche transceiver, but skiing in avalanche conditions is never recommended and can be extremely dangerous. Without the transceiver, it is possible the skier’s body most likely would not have been located until the snow completely melted in the spring.”

Our condolences go out to all of the victim’s friends, family and the tight-knit backcountry community he was so much a part of.

Opening photo: a view up the trail at Ammonoosuc Ravine. Taken before the slide. Photo: Alamy 

Upated: 2-4-21, 6 pm.


Lisa Lynn

Editor of VT SKI + RIDE and Vermont Sports.