In the University equipment inventory there is mentioning of one spare pair of skis.
University equipment inventory Case files sheet 203
Yudin returned on his skis. Ski professionals say that extra pairs of skis are essential for such a long route. Traditionally, the last person in the line drags them behind with a rope. In this photo we see Krivonischenko carrying skis on his back.
Unknown camera film 5 frame 18
It was probably this extra pair that was used to make Kolevatov's sledge mentioned in their satirical propaganda leaflet Evening Otorten, see the Technical News section.
Evening Otorten №1
The storage site where Dyatlov group left provisions for their way back and lighten their backpacks for the ascend is called "labaz". Mansi rise platforms to store their game to pick it up later. Dyatlov group labaz seems to be constructed in haste – in a snow pit, rather than in trees beyond the reach of animals, as it was more common. In last entry of the group diary on January 31 Dyatlov wrote "I can't even start thinking of setting up a storage". That can explain why the labaz was in this pitiful state.
The storage found by Slobtsov and Kurikov on Mar 2, 1959
One item in particular raises questions: Dyatlov’s boots. Why continue on ski without his boots? Yudin’s answer was that, with this particular straps over the ski boots it was possible to ski in valenki and, moreover, Krivonischenko, for one, preferred to ski in his felt boots as well. Then, presuming they will be on their skis the whole time an extra ski boots will make uncomfortable extra weight.
2 Mar - Slobtsov and Kurikov found Dyatlov’s depot 400 m from the rescue camp
Their cache was found marked with pair of skis propped in the snow and a gaiter slipped onto it. Here is sheet 8 from the Protocol inspection of the storage (labaz)
Protocol inspection of the storage (labaz)
In the case files we have 3 different counts of the skis found at the tent and the labaz:
- Feb 28, 1959 The protocol of the hikers camp site mentions 8 pair of skis on the bottom of the tent, no mentioning of spare pair of skis. Signed by Templaov.
"Camp site consists of a pad of flattened snow, on the bottom are stacked 8 pairs of skis. Tent is stretched on ski poles and fixed with ropes, at the bottom of the tent 9 backpacks were discovered with various personal items, jackets, rain coats, 9 pairs of shoes."
Protocol of the hikers camp site
- Apr 15, 1959 Slobtsov who found the tent and the labaz, says "around the tent in the snow stood ski poles and spare skis - 1 pair" (sheet 298 back) and "a pair of spare skis" in the labaz (sheet 300).
Slobtsov testimony Case files sheet 298 back
Slobtsov testimony Case files sheet 300
- Apr 18, 1959 Tempalov in his testimony says 9 pair of skis, all of them under the bottom of the tent and additional spare pair of skis in the tent.
Tempalov testimony Case files sheet 310 back
We can only more or less confidently assert that one pair of skis was left at the labaz and one pair of skis was stuck next to the tent at the time when Slobtsov and Sharavin found it on Feb 26th 1959.
The tent partly cleared of the snow, 27 Feb 1959 - Yuri Koptelov in the frame, photo by V. Brusnitsyn
Explanation why the number of pair of skis under the bottom of the tent differs in Tempalov and Slobtsov testimonies can be found in Atmanaki's testimony dated 7-8 Apr 1959.
“There was no point to continue the further dismantling of the things, and so they left everything into place before the investigator arrived, after raising the tent and pulling out three pairs of skis, because dog guides went on foot, and the rest of the skis were used by us to mark the places where the bodies of the dead were found.”
Atmanaki testimony Case files sheet 215
Atmanaki testimony Case files sheet 215 back
Tempalov and Maslennikov arrived at the pass after the skis have been pulled from under the tent. Inspection of the tent was in a day after the events Atmanaki is describing. By that time there were no longer any skis under the tent, so their number could be only circumstantial.