Australia’s ski industry is rocked today by news that two of the skiers submerged in the Palisades avalanche are Australian.
Former Thredbo ski instructor now photographer, Hannah Sugerman and her brother former Australian ski racer now financier, Oliver Thompson, were both caught up in the inbound Palisades Tahoe avalanche that killed a 66 year old male skier, Kenneth Kidd from California.
The siblings who grew up in the Snowy Mountains revealed their traumatic ordeal to Nine News this evening which landed Thompson, the 2012 Whistler Cup ski race winner, in hospital with leg injuries after the mountain slope gave way at 9.30am local time.
The KT-22 chairlift opened for the first time this season at 9.00am, accessing the resort’s expert terrain. Half an hour later the avalanche happened.
The avalanche debris field was approximately 150 feet wide (45 metres), 450 feet long (137 metres) and 10 feet (3 metres) deep.
Sugerman’s partner, Callum Wishart, was skiing with them but not caught in the avalanche, he was able to rescue her neck deep in snow. They then frantically searched to find Thompson further down the hill.
“It caught up to me, kind of hit me in the back. I was above some cliffs so it kind of boosted me off these cliffs,” Thompson told Nine News.
“So I thought I was probably gonna die. Which is pretty crazy to say.”
Thompson is recovering from tibia and fibula fractures as well as a dislocated knee.