Badly-injured skier Toby Kravet warded off hypothermia
and death by repeating four sets of exercises over the 17 hours
he lay in snow near Treble Cone.
He was spotted lying on his back waving his ski poles in the
air just outside the ski area boundary by a team of three
Wanaka LandSAR volunteers at 8.20am yesterday.
Team leader Brent Arthur, of Lake Hawea, said Mr Kravet (72)
was in ''amazingly good spirits'' considering the multiple
compound fractures to his lower legs.
''He was very aware if he fell asleep, he would be in
trouble. He repeated a set of four exercises to keep his body
warm and keep himself awake.''
Mr Arthur said that before being administered pain relief,
the American citizen was asked to rate his pain level - with
one the lowest and 10 the highest - and he replied ''about
three'', conceding it might rise once his ski boots were
The rescue was ''a very tricky, quick snatch and grab'' for
Aspiring Helicopters pilot James Ford to fly the machine in
and out, because of deteriorating weather, Mr Arthur said.
The Hawaii resident was meant to leave the country today, but
spent last night in Dunedin Hospital.
He was ''progressing favourably in a general ward'', a
Earlier this month, he posted about his forthcoming ski
holiday on his Facebook page: ''Two weeks of DISCONNECTION:
No email, no Facebook. YEAH!!''
Wanaka search and rescue team leader Brent Arthur relaxes
back at base after his team rescued injured skier Toby
Kravet from Treble Cone skifield yesterday.
Wanaka LandSAR spokesman Phil Melchior said Mr Kravet got
on to the Saddle Basin chairlift at 2.30pm on Monday, and
because of the bad visibility, or by accident, turned left and
traversed out of bounds into the Gottlieb's Saddle area, When
trying to ski down, Mr Kravet, who had been skiing at Treble
Cone for the past two weeks, ploughed into a snowdrift, struck
an obstacle beneath the snow and went over the front of his
skis about 3pm, Mr Arthur said.
The search was launched two hours later when Mr Kravet failed
to meet his scheduled bus ride from Treble Cone back to
A helicopter searched unsuccessfully for about three hours on
Monday night with crew using night vision equipment.
LandSAR teams were deployed at dawn about 7am yesterday and
Mr Kravet was found 80 minutes later.
He was flown to the Wanaka Medical Centre, then taken to
Dunedin by the Otago Regional Rescue Helicopter.
Mr Melchior said although the temperature overnight was
''below zero'', Mr Kravet was dressed warmly for a day's
''We are chuffed. The chances of it being a different outcome
were obviously very high.''
Ski Express Queenstown ski operations manager Paula
Squire-Thomas, who has known Mr Kravet for about 20 years -
since he first started coming to Queenstown on package
holidays, with her company - said he always wore a helmet and
She described him as ''a lovely guy'', who was
''five-foot-nothing'' and ''very fit'' for his age.
''He runs a lot and goes on regular ski trips with his club
Mrs Squire-Thomas had been talking to Mr Kravet's sister in
Florida, who had spoken to him before he went into surgery at
Dunedin Hospital yesterday.