Pair's perfect timing saves skier

21:06, Aug 30 2014
Ivan Molina-Trigueros
LAST PIC: Ivan Molina-Trigueros photographs himself near the summit of Mt Ruapehu, just before tumbling down the slope.

Two Ohakune men are being praised as heroes after arriving in the nick of time to help a man who fell down a slope on Turoa Skifield.

Ivan Molina-Trigueros, of Wellington hiked to the summit of Mt Ruapehu on August 18 with plans to take photographs. But after an uneventful two hour journey up the mountain the 40-year old headed to the crater to take more photographs things turned nasty as fell backwards, dragged by his heavy pack.

"I don't think my skies even touched the snow in the slope.

"As soon as I dropped I fell backwards or sideways and started rolling."

Molina-Trigueros said he remembered rolling and seeing one of his skis and legs going up to the sky and rolling like a rag doll.

As he rolled down the slope, he lost one of his skis.


"I remember lying down the bottom, taking a deep breath, then looking up seeing my ski at the top of the slope," he said.

Molina-Trigueros tried to use his ski-poles for climbing after attempts with his hands failed, and after an hour-and-a-half retrieved his ski and made his way back down to his gear.

"I had consumed most of the time [and] the sun was going down fast," he said.

Contemplating how to survive a night on the mountain, Molina-Trigueros then saw what he described as his rays of sunshine and hope - Scott Nation and Darren Corowa.

"I saw two guys skiing down - I couldn't believe it.

"They got control of the situation immediately."

"Scott said ‘We are going to get you out of this mountain... it will be dark soon, so we need to get out fast," Molina-Trigueros said.

After a painful, long ski down the mountain, Molina-Trigueros finally made it to the ski base at about 8pm, thanks to his two rescuers.

"I kept thanking them for saving my life and they kept laughing it off," he said.

"[When] I asked what made then go that route, they said it was the best skiing."

Molina-Trigueros, originally from Spain, said it showed Kiwis' humble and can-do attitude.

"I also apologised for spoiling their ski day, but in true Kiwi style they said to each other, 'hey at least we did some night skiing."

Molina-Trigueros said he'd learned from the incident that anything can happen, even though he had planned his trip thoroughly.

"I know I took some good decisions that day," he said.

"I had food and water, although I only planned for three hours not seven.

"But, above all, I know that I was stupid, doing it alone."

Waikato Times