Tuesday, February 13, 2018

UPDATED WED: Missing Whiteface Skier Found In California

Missing Whiteface Skier Constantinos 'Danny' FilippidisUpdate: Mike Lynch at Adirondack Explorer attended a State Police press conference Wednesday afternoon and filed the story located here.

After five and a half days searching in freezing temperatures, deep snow and freezing rain, missing Whiteface skier Constantinos “Danny” Filippidis of Toronto has been located – alive and well in California.

Mike Lynch at Adirondack Explorer interviewed Frank Ramagnano, President of the Toronto Professional Firefighters Association, the group Filippidis was skiing with when he was reported missing.

Ramagnano said he believes Filippidis spoke with his wife Tuesday prompting a response by emergency medical services, who found him still in his ski clothes, possibly in a confused state.

New York State Police said Filippidis informed authorities in Sacramento, California of his whereabouts Tuesday.  Major John Tibbitts told reporters assembled at a press conference Wednesday afternoon: “We ask no one to jump to any conclusions.”

State Police are saying the circumstances of the case are under investigation, but that they were not aware that any laws were broken.

This story was updated at 10 pm Tuesday to include some of the details of Mike Lynch’s reporting at Adirondack Explorer; and again Wednesday afternoon to add a few details from Mike’s follow-up after a State Police press conference.


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Community news stories come from press releases and other notices from organizations, businesses, state agencies and other groups. Submit your contributions to Almanack Editor Melissa Hart at editor@adirondackalmanack.com.

79 Responses

  1. adkmike says:

    Glad he was found, alive and apparently well. Curious circumstances though. Good, albeit expensive, training for all the crews involved.

  2. Justin says:

    Is it ok now to say that photo of him looks really creepy?

  3. Larry Roth says:

    Unless there are some mitigating circumstances, would it be unreasonable to bill him for some part of the expenses racked up by days of S&R efforts that put a lot of people at risk?

    • John Warren says:

      For not randomly reporting his whereabouts to the authorities?

      • Justin Farrell says:

        Randomly? He was (allegedly) part of an annual group trip. It would be pretty irresponsible of him to not let someone know that he’d be leaving, especially for a firefighter, who should know the importance of being accounted for. Usually a simple text would do the trick. Maybe he did let someone know & it went overlooked…who knows. It’d be interesting to learn what happened so it can perhaps help prevent a similar situation in the future.

        • John Warren says:

          Prevent which situation – someone not reporting their whereabouts to their friends? Have you reported to your friends where you are right now in case one of them decides you’re missing and calls the cops?

          • Justin Farrell says:

            I’m currently not on a group ski trip to one of the biggest mountains in New York, but yes, if I didn’t return somewhere when expected I would let someone know that I was ok as soon as possible & able to, otherwise I might get reported missing.

          • MTM says:

            So does not reporting your whereabouts to your wife and children after being missing for a week from a winter outing also qualify as simply as not contacting friends about your normal daily whereabouts?

            Obviously the story is in its infancy, but seriously John, your analogy of someone simply not checking in with friends about their daily whereabouts is off-point.

            • Jason says:

              Completely agree. He left town while his family and friends were there looking for him, thinking the worst. Not to mention the patrol and rangers in freezing temps looking for him in horrible terrain. Completely different than “not checking in”. You have to be joking

  4. geogymn says:

    It might be wise to hear his side of the story before passing judgement.

  5. Justin Farrell says:

    From WNYT…
    “He turned himself into Sacramento authorities wearing his ski jacket, pants and carrying his helmet.”


    • John Warren says:

      Let’s charge him with a crime!

    • Paul says:

      They say there is little chance that he flew to CA since he didn’t have a passport with him? He needs a passport to get into the US. He doesn’t need one to fly from NY to CA once he is already here? Does he?

      He showed up to the police station to “turn himself in”. I am curious what he was turning himself in for? Being lost? He had his ski helmet with him? How much was he drinking at WF? It’s that or he may have some other issues?

  6. Doreen McCarthy says:

    I hope they charge him for the cost of the search.

    • Scott says:

      After ski patrol didn’t locate him on the trails it was the ski patrol and rangers that decided they should search the woods for a week.

  7. August says:

    Not very impressed with John Warren’s own comments on here

  8. Rob G says:

    Glad to hear he was found alive, me and my girlfriend took a walk all the way up Veterans Memorial Highway and were looking with binoculars to see if we were able to see him or anything out of the ordinary (you never know). We look forward to finding out more information in the investigation.

  9. Paul Neralich says:

    Did the search for Filippidis at Whiteface coincide with the massive rescue effort for the injured hiker at Saddleback Mountain?

  10. UNHOLY says:

    John Warren you need to get a clue.
    He was skiing with a group of friends.
    Suddenly he is gone – his stuff is in the lodge – his car is in the parking lot.
    His family has no idea where he is.
    The guys he went specifically skiing with – have no clue where he is.
    If i drive to Toronto with a friend in the car – we ski and at the end of the day he doesn’t return to drive home with me ??? uh yeah i would think something happened.
    The set up an elaborate search – one that i saw first hand as i was at the mountain.
    Then he shows up in California ?
    He is a fireman – he knows what happens if someone is thought to be missing.
    Unless he was abducted by aliens – he should most certainly pay.

  11. Ben says:

    John Warren- very unprofessional, sarcastic, and passive aggressive comments. Also, you are clearly wrong.

  12. Neil Geminder says:

    Possible case of fugue state. A person finds himself in another location (sometimes thousands of miles away) with no idea how he got there. With today’s travel security measures i would have thought this was almost impossible.

  13. Balian the Cat says:

    Everyone’s an expert on everything, everyone is a perfect predictor of everything, everyone knows what’s right in every instance, everyone thinks everyone else cares what they think / say / feel, everyone represents the feelings and sensitivities of everyone else as if with their permission, everyone makes declarative statements about all of the above.

    Long live the interwebs

    • John Warren says:

      Apparently, none of that matters to all the experts on the internets who are busy attacking a veteran firefighter who appears to have been in a medical crisis. I take it as a badge of honor to be one of the few people commenting on this story who believe in getting the facts before having an opinion, but it is a seriously sad commentary on the intellect and empathy of our fellow Americans.

      • Boreas says:


        I sincerely hope you are right. But a bizarre story will invite bizarre comments, regardless of this man’s occupation and health.

        • Paul says:

          Sounds like he is exactly right. This could have turned out a lot worse. Good thing he had the where-with-all to get a phone and call his wife and then call 911 like she suggested, she must have been distraught. Hope he can make a full recovery.

          This is an unfortunate testimony to how so many people could overlook a person that clearly needed help. How many people must have seen him with his ski clothes on and a helmet no where near a ski area, a person clearly in distress, and do nothing.

      • MTM says:

        Wait a minute John. When you made the statement that this was simply a case of someone not notifying friends of their whereabouts….you were voicing your opinion without knowing all the facts. If your take was that people shouldn’t rush to judgments and wait until the facts come in, that’s what your initial commentary should have been. While I agree, that the best path forward is to wait for the facts come in, that’s NOT the position you promulgated in your initial posts. I found your comments just as perilous as those from people rushing to judgement before the story played out.

        • John Warren says:

          No, I was not voicing an opinion without the facts. Some of the facts are obvious, no matter what happened:

          1) he did not report himself missing and so therefore could not have made a false report; and
          2) it is not a crime to not tell people where you are, or to leave your “friends” and your gear behind, even if they really like you, or would be really worried, or whatever other nonsense people have put forward.

          He committed no crime, even if he knowingly misled his friends into believing he was going to stay the whole day, never told them he left, and purposefully hid his whereabouts (none of which appears likely). No crime, no fine.

          Even if he saw a search was on, which we have no evidence he did or did not, and didn’t call to say he was OK, that is not a crime that I’m aware of.

          • MTM says:

            The opinion you voiced (directly IMHO) is that there was no need for him to report his whereabouts. That is YOUR opinion. Just because there was no crime (that we currently know of) does not mean someone either should or shouldn’t report their whereabouts in the case of SAR operation. If you don’t agree that you initial posts were your opinions – no need to debate further – neither of us will be able to convince the other.

            • Paul says:

              He simply pointed out that the guy didn’t report his whereabouts, that isn’t an opinion, a fact that we now know is true and could easily surmise before making just the one assumption that he was alive and capable. Apparently he was alive and was not capable.

              • Marc Wanner says:

                Paul, we don’t know that he was not capable, only that he did not report. Maybe he chose not to report his whereabouts. Whole lot of possibilities.

                In any case, he appears to have been able to buy a new iPhone. Which suggests that he could have bought a bus ticket home. It’s going to be interesting…

                • Paul says:

                  No – we don’t know for sure. But what we do know seems to support that at this point.

                  We know for sure that he wanted to be found eventually, and he was, thanks to his own actions.

            • John Warren says:

              We may have the opinion that there was a need for him to report his whereabouts. But regardless of what happened, he was not required to report himself to anyone and had no obligation to watch the news to be sure he wasn’t reported missing.

              We may have the opinion that he should have told his friends he was leaving (jumping here to the conclusion that he was able to do so), but it is a fact that he had no obligation whatsoever to do that.

              We may have the opinion that he should have reported his whereabouts because a SAR was going on for him (jumping to another conclusion that he knew he was being sought), but it is still a fact that he had no obligation.

              We may have ideas about how people should act and there’s nothing wrong with that. But they are simply our opinions.

      • Justin Farrell says:

        I think you have to expect that any time a story like this is posted you will always have speculative & judgmental comments, especially in a missing person(s) incident. Just look what happened last winter when those two kids spent 3 nights on Algonquin…there was lots of judgement & criticism in the comments, before & after the full story came out. Not just here but on just about every other internet news outlet that allows the public to make a comment. If you don’t want people passing judgment & sharing their thoughts on an article, then you should either turn off the public comments or wait until YOU have all the facts on what exactly happened before you post your story.

        • John Warren says:

          That’s not how the world works. It is your responsibility to not jump to conclusions.

          • Justin Farrell says:

            Understood, thanks John.
            As mentioned elsewhere here, an odd story will often generate some odd comments, and people can & will speculate & discuss their feelings & thoughts on the story that is provided. No need to be surprised or a little defensive if some people came away with an unpleasant scenario in their head after the initial post. That’s just the way the world works, especially in these crazy times we all live in. Keep up the good work, I always enjoy your pieces & others’, and I enjoy viewing the comments. You have quite the crew here for sure. ? Justin

  14. Boreas says:

    People’s comments here are all over the place because of the way the story has unfolded. Sketchy facts since being found have added to the confusion, making the incident much more complex. For instance, not only did he not contact anyone, no one was able to contact him. Why was he seemingly oblivious to the search at Whiteface? He didn’t walk to CA in his ski gear – he certainly would have painted an odd picture elsewhere in the country – no one noticed?

    Luckily there were no serious injuries reported from the dangerous and expensive search. I suspect some type of mental illness or possibly even foul play as a part of the saga. So until all the details are out, I guess we are all kinda pissin’ in the wind.

    • Paul Neralich says:

      I’m wondering if this guy was kidnapped, or maybe the victim of some other kind of foul play.

      • Boreas says:

        We all are!! The story is becoming curiouser and curiouser. As I mentioned above, “I think we need to hear from the alleged cross-country trucker who hauled a sleeping man across the country for several days in his skiing gear without thinking something strange was going on.”. Things still aren’t adding up. Given head trauma or a mental issue, it still doesn’t get him across the country without arousing suspicion in my book.

      • Boreas says:

        Alien abduction makes the most sense. Perhaps we should get Mulder and Scully involved.

  15. Charlie S says:

    This is a very interesting case indeed! I look forward to see what the conclusion is, ie how he ended up 5000 miles away, etc. At the very least there is a neurological issue going on here with this man and wouldn’t it be something if it turns out he was abducted by aliens, taken up in a spacecraft and dropped off in Sacramento. Art Bell would love this story.

  16. John Warren says:

    This story has been updated by Mike Lynch at Adirondack Explorer here:


    • Justin Farrell says:

      So he can’t quite remember what happened, but remembered his PIN number, got a hair cut & “a new phone”.

      Are there any reports from the hospital that can confirm his claim that he possibly suffered a head injury?

      It’s reported that he remembers riding in a big rig truck.
      Where in the truck…in the cab with a driver or in/on the trailer?

      He bought a new phone & got a haircut but didn’t call his wife until he got to the airport.


      Not judging or jumping to conclusions but a couple thoughts come to mind to share…I also enjoy downhill skiing with friends. Many times taking a break or two with a few drinks is involved. I also know people who struggle with alcoholism & drug abuse & often easily fall into a bender, and sometimes don’t realize what they are doing, or what they did for several days in a row, and often wish for a different/better life, and lost their phone during this whole process.

      Skiers often dress in layers, so conceivably he could have easily carried some of his outer layers & helmet in a shopping bag or two while he crossed the country without anyone asking questions.

      I’m not suggesting this is what happened, but I am just speculating a possible scenario that has yet to be disproven from the information provided this far. We can only hope answers to these questions & concerns will be answered in due time. I have nothing but the best wishes for Mr. Filippidis & his family & friends, glad he is ok!

      • Boreas says:


        Wasn’t he still wearing his ski boots in CA? That would get my attention. Multiple truck rides or just one – going from Whiteface/Wilmington to Sacramento? A single ride seems unlikely – not a common truck route. I suppose he could have projected the appearance of a homeless person when picked up, but it would be a stretch – especially with ski clothes, boots, and a helmet. But still no witnesses coming forth.

        There are several types of amnesia. Sometimes it only involves short-term memory – similar to the alcohol black-outs you mention. So with brain injury it is possible to remember names, addresses, PINs, phone numbers and not recall what happened around the time of the episode. Sometimes this memory returns, sometimes it never does. Often the person starts remembering details going back in time toward the point of the episode, but not the episode itself.

        • Justin Farrell says:

          Ski boots…that’s another question…Where they regular alpine ski boots or where they telemark boots? Alpine boots are pretty difficult to walk in & many telemark boots are not much different than an average hiking boot. Until more facts to this story become available I’ll still remain a little skeptical of his story, but either way I hope that he receives any necessary treatment for the reason(s) behind his odd journey from the frozen Whiteface to the sunny & warm left coast.

      • Greg S says:

        I worked with a guy a while back who whacked the back of his head while plugging in some cables under his desk one day. A few days later he drove to the store, and when he started driving home he couldn’t remember where he lived. Ended up calling his wife and she had to go get him. He had a brain aneurysm caused by hitting his head, was out of work for a year, and never quite fully recovered.

        My point is brain injuries manifest themselves in really weird ways. If this guy fell while skiing and hit his head, it’s certainly not unreasonable that he would be confused and suffering short term memory loss, but still able to remember certain things that were likely committed to long-term memory (like his name, pin, and wife’s nickname).

        And of course there’s always this guy for interesting reading – https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Benjaman_Kyle

  17. Eric says:

    Here’s my theory:
    Danny crashed on his last run, causing some sort of head injury and greatly delayed his return to the lodge till well after close. (and remember, the actual search for Danny didn’t begin till next morning). It was bitter cold that night with significant snow but even in his state of delirium from the head injury, he found whatever shelter he could and that was in the back of a nearby parked tractor trailer where he collapsed inside as a result from exhaustion and injury. Sometime later, the truck driver closed and locked the semi’s cargo door and headed out for what would be a long haul west, oblivious to his stow-away. (note that Whiteface is still undergoing major renovations with a fair number of contractors and their trucks about the property). For whatever reason, the driver never became aware of his desperate cargo until reaching California where he, as baffled about the situation as anybody, dropped Danny off at the airport as the quickest means for Danny to get home. Still reeling from his head injury and the effects of his long journey with little or no sustenance , it is still difficult for him to articulate all the circumstances.
    Sound too far-fetched?

    • Boreas says:

      The only thing – how did he go to the bathroom?

      My own theory isn’t too far-fetched, but I don’t want to lay it out for fear of getting yelled at.

      Ask yourself, what WASN’T reported in the news. Were there any interviews with a frantic/distressed wife or family? Were there any interviews with the “friends”? Was anyone interested enough to go to Whiteface and help with the search? It is pretty illogical he got across the country in one ride. My guess is several stops and several rides.

      I suspect a “disease” entity possibly unrelated to an acute, traumatic brain injury that was well known by family and colleagues that may have been intentionally suppressed to protect him. It is possible he only remembers his most recent ride in a truck – there may have been several with stops and gaps between (rest areas, towns, etc.). And I suspect this is something he and his family has dealt with before.

  18. Pete Nelson says:

    I have lovingly and carefully scanned these comments on this interesting and mysterious story, and I have assimilated the wisdom of the Internet Tribe. Here are some things I’ve been able to learn:

    • Judge him
    • Bill him
    • Make him pay
    • Yeah, sure, he “forgot…”
    • He remembered some things so I suspect he’s fine and he’s lying
    • He bought stuff, so I suspect he’s fine and he’s lying
    • People who helped him get cross country have things to answer for too
    • It’s an alleged head injury
    • He allegedly turned himself in
    • Let’s suggest he was drinking
    • Maybe it was drug abuse
    • Was it aliens?

    Nicely done.

    Now suppose this firefighter is not from Toronto, but from Newcomb, and he’s an avid reader of the Almanack, as are his family and friends. How’s that feel now?

    “Pete writes for the Almanack and other publications. Pete works publicly on Adirondack issues with a variety of organizations. Why don’t I ever see Pete on (Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, your favorite social media site)?”

    Now you know.

    • Non-judgemental says:

      Pete, you can suppose anything you want, just as anyone else can.

      Until the facts come out, the whole thing is a mystery. I don’t know who you think you are to judge others for having personal theories on what happened.

      Yes I did have a family member risking their life (to be dramatic) searching the mountain.


      • Pete says:

        Dear non-judgmental and others:

        Any reaction to this part of my comment?

        “Now suppose this firefighter is not from Toronto, but from Newcomb, and he’s an avid reader of the Almanack, as are his family and friends.”

        Interesting irony that you suggest I’m judging, but on something I wrote where I myself am calling out judgmental comments on social media. At least I didn’t suggest anyone might have been drinking when they wrote their comment, or might be lying when they wrote their comment.

        In fact, while you and others may not like my push back, I named no one. I even paraphrased so as to quote no one. However, comments that suggest this firefighter is any of the things mentioned above deserve a challenge. This is a public site. This guy is a living, breathing person who is, by all accounts, a victim of an accident. And I damn well hope neither he nor his family or friends has to deal with comments like those I called out.

        I don’t judge anyone for having or even voicing personal theories on what happened. It’s not about personal theories, or how good they are: my theories on this gentleman’s incident were no better than lots of other theories (they were wrong).

        All of us who are regulars on the Almanack have seen other stories where people who were part of incidents or accidents were hurt by judgmental comments on these very pages. There is a massive difference between speculating on what happened and issuing condemnations or suggesting accusations without the facts to back it up. And the Almanack is far better than most social media sites, many of which are loaded with such judgmental vitriol that depression seems to be the most rational response. How many sites have restricted or eliminated comment features? It’s not because expressing personal opinions was a problem. I find it remarkable that I even have to say that, as though the phenomenon I’m describing isn’t blatantly obvious.

        Bottom line: this guy doesn’t deserve some of the public comments being made against him. I’m publicly standing up for him and against the significant portions of social media commentary that are reactionary and even thuggish.

        • Boreas says:


          Different comments have come out as facts have leaked out. For a week many of us were white-knuckled while the massive search was on and was looking less positive every day. There weren’t a lot of wild accusations or theories at that point. Then, I believe it was ADE, the first day he was found, that stated he was found “alive and well”, had called his wife, and didn’t remember what happened to him. That is what triggered relief as well as frustration in people following or directly involved in the search. Since then, more confusing statements have come out piecemeal over time, resulting in people trying to figure out what is going on.

          You can say it is none of our business, and be totally correct, but people showing interest in a developing news story is hardly anything new – especially if it involves our back yard. Where the victim lives is irrelevant to me. People living in the area also understand the risks involved with the possibly unnecessarily long search. One can’t really sit back after the fact and peruse all of the comments made and assume they all came at one time – rather, they have evolved as the story has evolved. I feel we are simply seeing how human nature works on many levels. It isn’t always going to be pretty.

        • Non-judgementak says:


          I respect your opinion.

          I haven’t seen the vitriol and attacks against this guy on social media that you are referring to.

          I’m not ready to attack him, or jump to his defense, before some facts come out on exactly what happened.

          Something about telling his friends “One last run” then dissapearing doesn’t sit well with me. You don’t just crawl into a truck at Whiteface and end up in Sacramento. I’m assuming his friends must have been scouring the base lodge area for him at the end of the day. How did he sneak through?

          If you take these questions as an attack on the guy, that’s up to you.

          There are so many unanswered questions. I’m not ready to judge the fireman, or anyone else, until the facts come out. Bottom line- I’m glad everyone is safe.


          • Justin Farrell says:

            100% agree!
            Just because someone says “I think I had a head injury & can’t remember” does not necessarily mean it’s the truth. Of course it is certainly possible…anything’s possible. It’s just a discussion on a rare & very bizarre story. Thuggish? What about pompous?

    • JohnL says:

      Peter, our collective wisdom pales in comparison to yours. Thanks for being you and pointing out our frailties. I for one will try to be more like you. Seriously!

      • Pete says:

        Dear John L:

        You don’t know me well enough to want to be like me, you might be lowering your standards.

        As for my wisdom versus everyone’s “collective wisdom,” I offered no wisdom on what happened to this gentlemen. But I’ll admit that my reading of the collective wisdom off these comments is that it’s thin.


    • Boreas says:


      At the top, it says “COMMENTS”. It doesn’t say “FACTS”. A surreal story in our area involving hundreds of people in risky situations, with few facts given out piecemeal over a week’s time is going to attract a lot of comments, of which I am certainly guilty. I leave it up to the editors to figure out which stories to run and which comments to allow. But the number of comments and commenters shows the interest the story generated.

      I admire your self-control to not add your own comments, but I don’t believe you should be overly critical of those who choose to comment.

  19. Justin Farrell says:

    Quote: “Pete writes for the Almanack and other publications. Pete works publicly on Adirondack issues with a variety of organizations. Why don’t I ever see Pete on (Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, your favorite social media site)?

    Now you know.”

    I have the perfect GIF for this comment, too bad I’m unable to post it. ?

  20. geogymn says:

    As a group of people who love and want to protect the Adirondacks we would be better suited to recognize are common goals, respect each others opinions, and avoid being divided. All this bickering diverts our focus away from the more important issues of the day. Maybe cabin fever has gotten the best of us.

  21. Mick Finn says:

    I bet he had a “psychotic break”. I knew someone who had one once. He was living a completely normal life and fell off the grid for a week and a half and had absolutely no recollection of the past days. It happens. Glad he’s OK.

  22. John Hynes says:

    UFO. Abduction

  23. mike erickson says:

    What’s the latest on this crazy story?

  24. Kyle Stone says:

    Any news on his health, why wasn’t he found well?

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