The mother of a skier who survived a backcountry avalanche is relieved her son is alive, but grieving the loss of his best friend, Shane Coulter.
Ray Pinney was a last minute addition to the 5-day backcountry tour.
The skiers were part of a group of twelve guides and clients in the south Wallowa Mountains when they were caught in an avalanche around noon Tuesday, according to Baker County Sheriff Mitch Southwick.
The area where the avalanche occurred is called Little Eagle Meadows, about 10 miles northwest of the town of Halfway.
Two people, including Coulter, died in the snow. A guide from Bellingham, Jake Merrill, also died.
Pam Pinney, Ray's mother, released the following statement to KING 5.
We feel very fortunate that our son, Ray, survived. He is traumatized by this event and the loss of his friend, Shane. Our hearts go out to the families who lost their sons in the accident. The skiers were well-educated in avalanche courses, safety, and the use of beacons in backcountry. They had training and were using guides on their 5 day backcountry trek because it is a sport that has the risk element. They were caught up in that danger.
Two injured skiers are still hospitalized.