Tahoe Pro Skier Josh Daiek Barely Escapes Avalanche

As written by Josh Daiek:

I got super lucky yesterday. I made a number of mistakes leading to this incident and want to explain my thought process in hopes it can help you from making similar mistakes.

It all starts at breakfast. I was running behind, scrambling to get my breaky and lunch ready for the day. I briefly scanned the report, reading an overall low danger for the day. I was quite surprised to read this but it did fuel my stoke and excitement for my first day in the alpine. On the drive my friend mentioned the avy report as moderate. In my morning rush I must not have refreshed the report.

On our approach to the first objective of the day, we observed a couple small natural slides that had happened sometime that morning before our arrival. These slides were about 4” deep and only traveled about 50-100’ before settling. These small slides were just on the edge of a ridge where lots of wind loading was happening. In my mind, I saw these as small wind loaded pockets vs. the aspect I wanted to ski, which I thought to be sheltered from the winds.

Up top my game plan was to make a couple turns on the ridge that separates the chute and hanging snowfield. My “safe spot”. I thought to myself, “even if a pocket releases it will be super small and manageable.” I dropped in making a few turns and as I slowed up to let my slough roll by, the entire slope broke under my feet.

There were enough signs that I should not have been on this face. So why was I there? What was I thinking?

Over-froth: I was so excited about skiing my first line of the winter I wasn’t receptive to my surroundings. Even after discussing the recent wind transport and observing slides I didn’t absorb these warnings. I convinced myself that this aspect was protected and safe to ski. Don’t let excitement override your decision making.

Complacency: because I’ve skied this line a number of times I felt overconfident. “I know this line. I know I can ski it safely.” Respect the mountain and don’t be arrogant! Mountains don’t give a shit about your ego.

This by no means cool or something to be proud of. In fact I’m rather embarrassed. This was a big learning lesson for me. I hope it can help you too.

Related: Video: Josh Daiek Shreds A HUGE Spine In The Tahoe Backcountry