Police identify skier lost on Whiteface
WILMINGTON — Search-and-rescue crews tonight are winding down their third day of combing Whiteface Mountain Ski Center for a lost skier.
Constantinos “Danny” Filippidis, a 49-year-old firefighter from Toronto, was reported missing at Whiteface around 4:30 p.m. Wednesday. An intermediate skier, he was last seen atop the spur of Little Whiteface that afternoon. He was wearing a green ski jacket, a black helmet and red skis. He is 5 feet, 10 inches tall, weighs 220 pounds and has brown eyes with black hair.
Rescue teams conducted an air search Thursday morning and continued with ground and canine teams through the night into today. They plan to resume at 7 a.m. Saturday, state police said.
A missing person is an extremely rare occurrence at Whiteface, according to Jon Lundin, a spokesperson for the New York State Olympic Regional Development Authority that runs the ski center.
State Department of Environmental Conservation forest rangers are leading the search, with help from state police, the state Office of Emergency Management, the state Office of Fire Prevention Services, the Department of Homeland Security, U.S. Customs and Border Protection, Whiteface and Gore Mountain ski patrols, Toronto Area Fire Services and other numerous organizations and volunteers, totaling more than 140 people. State police said no other volunteers are needed.
Filippidis was on an annual ski trip with a group of off-duty and retired firefighters from Toronto, according to Frank Ramagnano, a spokesman for the Toronto Professional Firefighters Association. He said that after the ski center closed at 4 p.m., Filippidis’s fellow firefighters found his belongings in the lodge and his vehicle in the parking lot, but couldn’t find him.
“The bag where he had left his regular shoes was still sitting where they had left them in the morning,” Ramagnano said. “That’s when they obviously became alarmed that something was wrong.”
A winter storm warning from the National Weather Service was in effect when Filippidis went missing. Roughly 15 inches of natural snow has fallen on Whiteface since then.
Whiteface Mountain remains in full operation amid the search. Skiers and snowboarders who may see anything out of the ordinary are asked to notify the mountain’s ski patrol. Anyone who may have information, or may have seen Filippidis, is asked to call state police at 518-873-2750.