Tag Archives: Search and Rescue

Facing Risk

Avalanche Danger Decision Point enroute to Mary's Nipple at Grand Targhee Ski Resort
Avalanche Danger Decision Point en route to Mary’s Nipple at Grand Targhee Ski Resort

Five years ago, I had an epiphany and a book idea was born. The impetus appeared in the August 13th, 2010 edition of my local paper, the Idaho Mountain Express.

New York skier’s heirs sue rescuers for $5M


“DRIGGS, Idaho — The family of a New York man who skied outside the boundaries of a western Wyoming ski area and was rescued the following morning but later died of hypothermia has filed a wrongful death claim.

Continue reading Facing Risk

Review: Death in the Tetons

I live in Idaho near Sun Valley Resort, where my husband and I ski all winter with our two children. On my first of many trips to Grand Targhee ski area, the white-out conditions common to the area disoriented me. Fearful of unknown terrain, I increased my vigilance to know where I was on the trails at all times.

Death in the Tetons: Eddie “Cola” Fitzgerald’s Last 24 Hours, by Susan Tatarsky, recounts the story of a man who didn’t maintain such awareness, with tragic results. From the book description:

DeathInTheTetonsCoverThe Teton Range, located in the Rocky Mountains, is prone to sudden whiteout conditions that can disorient skiers enough that they lose their way. To help prevent this, ski resorts have clearly labeled trails, and the region boasts two separate Search and Rescue organizations plus the Grand Targhee Ski Patrol.

None of these helped Eddie “Cola” Fitzgerald in the last hours of his life. …. 

Based on the true story of Eddie Fitzgerald’s death, Death in the Tetons is a retelling that includes facts and actual legal depositions by those involved—all of which reveal the tragic sequence of events that robbed a man of his life.

In August 2010, my local paper published news of the wrongful death lawsuit filed by the Fitzgerald family against Search and Rescue, et. al. I wondered then if the plaintiff understood the dangers of the large snowfalls Targhee receives, or if they comprehended the vastness of the surrounding rugged terrain. Throughout Death in the Tetons, many passages indicate that winter dangers in the Rockies are not fully understood by the plaintiff or the author.  Continue reading Review: Death in the Tetons