It was just a normal ski trip for Toronto native Danny Filippidis, who ventured over to New York state’s Whiteface Mountain to hit the slopes on February 7, 2018 with his co-workers. The firefighter split from his group to run down to his car to get his phone. Six days later, he woke up in Sacramento, still wearing his ski outfit. A year later, he has no idea why or how he travelled 3,000 miles.
When the 49-year-old Filippidis went missing on the mountain, a massive manhunt took over the resort that included at least six government agencies, two ski patrols and several local volunteers. More than 135 volunteers searched the area for a combined 7,000 hours looking for any sign of the missing skier. Little did they know, he was in a big rig headed for California’s capitol.
Although he doesn’t remember anything, Filippidis told the Canadian Press he thought it all went wrong turn down a children’s ski slope while riding alone. Medical examiners have confirmed that he had sustained some sort of head injury but no one knows why that inspired him to hitchhike cross country in his ski clothes. He knows he was dropped off in Sacramento by a truck driver, and arrived with haircut and a brand new iPhone.
When deputies found Filippidis wandering around a rental car facility at the Sacramento airport, he had no idea who he was or how he got there. Police officials were shocked when they learned that he was the centerpiece of full-scale mountain manhunt occurring on the other side of the country.
In any event, his family was just happy he was alive and well.
“There was a lot of despair and a lot of stress on them in the sense that it just didn’t look reasonable that I would be found OK,” Filippidis said in August. “But … we can almost talk about anything now.”
In the year since the incident, Filippidis has gained international interest for his mysterious trip. He has since gone back work at the Toronto Fire Department, but has been mostly quiet with the media.
This odd story has captivated the minds of many. Did a skiing head injury bring him all across the country, with a new haircut and iPhone? Officials believe that’s the case.
Lesson of the story: wear a helmet.