A Sunday ski trip turned deadly after an avalanche hit a group of experienced back-country skiers in an out-of-bounds area at Washington's popular Steven's Pass. Elyse Saugstad, a professional skier and Girdwood, Alaska native, was one of the skiers swept up in the snow slide.
Out of her smaller group of four, she was the only survivor and told NBC's Today Show on Monday, that all of them felt safe in the area. But then, the avalanche hit."At the very beginning, there wasn't much panic. I didn't think it was going to turn into the size of avalanche that it was but once I was swept in it, it was a very long ride and I had a lot of time to think, that's definitely for sure," says Elyse Saugstad.
Her father Mark Saugstad, who lives in Girdwood, spoke to Channel 2 on Monday about the tragedy that his daughter survived. He says Elyse has been skiing since she could walk.
Mark says he was on the slopes himself on Sunday, and had not heard about the avalanche until he received a call from his daughter."My stomach kind of dropped. You know, obviously since we were talking to Elyse, everything was fine, but you know for parents, its kind of scary," says Mark Saugstad.
He says Elyse was only bruised, after being swept 2,000 feet down the mountain. She described it as being tumbled in a washing-machine."She seemed to be doing okay. She was pretty upset last night," says Mark Saugstad. "Skiing back-country, everybody tries to be as careful as possible, it doesn't always work out."
Elyse says the tragedy won't keep the her away from skiing."My fellow friends that just passed away would be devastated if we didn't continue in the spirit of skiing."