Pitch-black darkness, gusting winds and a deep mountain canyon with vertical granite walls climbing up to 12,000 ft. do not make for a helicopter friendly environment. To make matters worse, the winter's worst blizzard was inbound just miles away. Earlier on that January afternoon a backcountry skier had been trapped and injured by an avalanche in very steep terrain. Rescuers had spent hours getting to the downed skier and then maneuvering in steep, snow-covered terrain to get him to a ...


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