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Skier airlifted off Wyoming mountain after long fall

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Posted: Monday, July 4, 2011 11:12 pm | Updated: 1:50 pm, Tue Jul 5, 2011.

    JACKSON, Wyo. (AP) — A backcountry skier from Wisconsin was critically injured in a tumbling 800-foot fall on a mountain in Grand Teton National Park in northwest Wyoming, authorities said.

    Ryan Redmond, 33, of Delafield, Wis., fell Saturday while skiing down Ellingwood Couloir, a gully on Middle Teton mountain, the National Park Service said.

    Rangers who reached the scene placed Redmond in a litter, and a hovering helicopter lifted him off the mountain by cable.

    The helicopter ferried him to a nearby landing zone, where park rangers stabilized him. He was then flown to the Eastern Idaho Regional Medical Center in Idaho Falls, Idaho, where he was listed in critical condition Monday. A hospital spokeswoman declined to release any other information.

    Redmond was unconscious during the rescue and have not regained consciousness, said Jack Shea, director of Teton Science Schools in Jackson, where Redmond was a volunteer through the AmeriCorps program.

    Doctors are “guardedly optimistic” about Redmond’s prognosis, Shea said.

    Redmond was in a group of four who had climbed the couloir with ice axes and crampons intending to ski down. Redmond was the first to start the descent and had just started out when he lost control and began tumbling, the park service said.

    Redmond was wearing a climbing helmet and had his ice axe attached to a ski pole but he was unable to stop his fall, rangers said.

    Rangers said in a release that snow conditions contributed to the fall, but they did not elaborate.

    One of the companions called a dispatch center to report the fall, and the center summoned the helicopter.

    Shea said the ski trip was not a Teton Science Schools event.

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