Rescuers find body of snowboarder buried in Mt. Hood ice tunnel

A dozen rescuers using shovels and chainsaws Sunday to hack through a wall of ice and snow recovered the body of a 25-year-old snowboarder killed on Oregon’s Mt. Hood.

The snowboarder, Collin Backowski of Colorado, had been exploring the mountain with five of his friends Saturday afternoon when he surged ahead to examine an ice tunnel, Hood River Sheriff’s Office spokeswoman Lt. Tiffany Peterson told the Times.

A piece of ice the size of a school bus collapsed on top of Backowski, forming a icy tomb. His companions, all men in their 20s, were uninjured. They called for help and tried to dig their friend out.


Rescuers from multiple Oregon agencies responded Saturday afternoon, moving tons of ice and snow to find the body, but suspended the search overnight.

After the collapse, Backowski’s friends showed officials photographs they had taken just before the accident, which helped rescuers find the collapse more quickly.

“All of the mountain is pretty dangerous,” Peterson said.

The six men had been scouting for places to take photographs and video on the White River Glacier, Peterson said. The glacier is a popular snowboarding spot on the southern side of Mt. Hood.

Backowski’s body was discovered hours before the search would have been suspended, Peterson said, because the risk of avalanche on the mountain was growing as temperatures warmed.

According to his Facebook page, Backowski was an avid snowboarder and surfer. He worked at a summer snowboarding camp in Portland and had worked at a yoga and Pilates studio in Colorado.

“He chose to live out there on the edge with the snowboarding and I obviously wanted more from him,” Backowski’s father, John Backowski, told NBC News. “I would never try to take it away from him. He loved it.”


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