Ian Gini 4/22/98 Valdez Skier Fall

Man dies on heli-skiing trip

ADN 4/22/98

A California man was killed while heli-skiing in the Chugach Mountains east of Valdez, Alaska State Troopers said.

Ian Gini, 27, of San Francisco died Monday in a fall in the Thompson Pass area, troopers said.

The accident occurred when Gini and another skier, Ken Hudson, 33, of Denver, walked out on a cornice sometime before 5 p.m. and the ice ledge broke under them, throwing both down the mountain.  Hudson suffered cuts and bruises and was admitted to Valdez Community Hospital.  He was discharged early Tuesday evening, a nursing supervisor said.

Gini was pronounced dead on arrival at the hospital, troopers said.  Both were taken from the mountain by helicopters operated by Alaska Backcountry Adventures, troopers said.  Gini and Hudson were skiing as clients of the Valdez-based company, said company chief Tom Thibodeau.

They fell about 200 feet, Thibodeau said.  The mountain is called Cracked Ice, said Jim Conway, a senior guide for Valdez Heli-Ski Guides who brought clients to the site less than two hours after the accident.

The north side of the mountain offers generally moderate and low-angle skiing, Thibodeau and Conway said.  The fall occurred on another, steeper side of the mountain, Conway said.