Four skiers have been rescued after being caught up in an avalanche Saturday in mountains south of Anchorage, state troopers said.
The skiers were hoisted into an Air National Guard helicopter and evacuated to safer ground in the late afternoon, about four hours after the avalanche that briefly buried and injured three of them, troopers said.
The injured skiers were taken to the hospital for treatment of non-life threatening injuries about 4:30 p.m., troopers said.
The fourth skier, Adam Sanders, was uninjured and dropped off at the Summit Lake Lodge parking lot.
One of the injured skiers, James Mitchell, 58, called 911 at 12:27 p.m. to report that he and three others were caught in an avalanche while skiing in the area behind the lodge.
The buried skiers were found relatively quickly, troopers said. Each skier had an avalanche beacon, troopers said. They were then stranded beneath a ridge where an avalanche threat persisted, complicating the rescue.
Besides Mitchell, the injured skiers were Adam Baxter, 28, and Peter MacDonald, 34, troopers said. All are from Anchorage.
The injures involved broken bones and hypothermia, said trooper spokeswoman Beth Ipsen.
Besides the troopers, agencies that responded include state wildlife troopers, the Alaska Mountain Rescue Group and the Nordic Ski Patrol. Two LifeMed helicopters were staged in the lodge parking lot, and the troopers' Helo 1, with four mountain rescue group members, were staged on the lake.
Helo 1 dropped survival gear to the skiers, and mountain rescue group members skied to them to provide medical treatment and survival gear before the injured skiers were flown off the mountain.