Skiing Utah


Avalanche damage at Jackson Hole
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This is turning out to be an absolutely crazy avalanche season …

First there was the inbounds avalanche at Snowbird a couple weeks ago; then an inbounds avalanche at Jackson Hole kills a skier this past Saturday. Another inbounds avalanche today at Jackson Hole didn’t hurt anyone, but damaged one of the mid-mountain lodges and buried four ski patrollers (all safely rescued).

Wyoming resort briefly closes after 2nd avalanche –

(CNN) — Jackson Hole Mountain Resort in Wyoming closed briefly Monday because of an avalanche, two days after a different avalanche killed a man there.

Monday’s avalanche happened at 9:30 a.m., before the slopes were open to the public, and no one was hurt, the resort said.

The statement said the resort had closed. But by about noon, resort spokeswoman Anna Olsen said some lower lifts had opened.

On Saturday, two skiers were swept down a snow path when the slope they were on failed. One of them, David Nodine, 31, was buried and killed. The resort said he was wearing a helmet and an avalanche transceiver, which allows authorities to find a buried skier.

Olsen said Nodine was killed in a “slab avalanche,” meaning a large slab of snow shifted. Heavy snow in Wyoming

Olsen said the resort has received “an enormous amount of snow in the last eight days,” calling it an “unusual phenomenon for this area.” That means an “unusually high avalanche danger,” she said.

Another avalanche in Canada kills at least 7 snowmobilers:

7 bodies found after Canadian avalanches –

CNN) — The bodies of seven of eight snowmobilers missing after Sunday’s avalanches in southeastern British Columbia have been found, the Royal Canadian Mounted Police said Monday.

One man still was missing, but rescue personnel suspended their search near Fernie, British Columbia, at mid-afternoon Monday because of heavy snowfall and dense low clouds, the RCMP said.

The search will resume Tuesday morning, authorities said.

All eight men — and three others who escaped — faced two avalanches Sunday afternoon about 20 kilometers (12.4 miles) east of Fernie, a town in the Canadian Rockies about 300 kilometers (186 miles) southwest of Calgary, Alberta.

The three survivors suffered minor injuries, and one of them was hospitalized overnight.

The men had been in an area called Harvey Pass, which police called a popular backcountry snowmobile destination. Officials said an avalanche buried part of the group, and a second buried the rest as they tried to assist.

And two separate avalanches have also killed 3 snowmobilers in Utah over the past week.

First, two snowmobilers were killed on Christmas Eve in Cache County:

Two snowmobilers die in Cache County avalanche – Salt Lake Tribune

Two young men described as experienced snowmobilers died in an avalanche Wednesday, the first clear morning following multiple storms that left the Bear River Range with more than 3 feet of fresh snow.

The two men, Jesse Johnson, 23, of Hyrum, and Erik Jorgensen, 22, of Paradise, were with two buddies – all friends since middle school – on Christmas Eve morning.

They were near Logan Peak, in northern Utah, when they were caught in an avalanche near an open, snowy bowl called Rodeo Grounds. The slide was reported to authorities about 10:30 a.m. via satellite phone by a member of a separate snowmobiling party.

“These were not rookie snowmobilers,” said Gary Anderson, president of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints stake where Johnson attended.

Tanner Hunsaker, who was invited to go on the outing but declined, said both men were wearing avalanche beacons.

Cache County Sheriff’s Lt. Matt Bilodeau said that’s how rescuers found the two bodies. Neither man could be resuscitated.

The snowmobilers were on “a very extreme slope,” Bilodeau said. The slide broke 250 yards wide from the cornice to the bottom.

And then yesterday, a teenager was killed in Summit County:

Uinta avalanche kills boy, 15 – Salt Lake Tribune

A 15-year-old snowmobiler was killed in an avalanche in the backcountry of the Uinta National Forest in Summit County on Monday.

The avalanche occurred shortly before 4:30 p.m. in the Windy Ridge/Moffit Basin area of the county, said Summit County Sheriff’s Office Capt. Dean Carr. The 15-year-old boy, who was not identified, was caught in the slide, which took place about 8 miles west of the Bear River Service on State Road 150.

Search-and-rescue workers found the teenager at 5:54 p.m., Carr said. He was confirmed dead at the scene.

The avalanche was reported to be 300 to 400 feet in length, with a 4- to 6-foot crown, Carr said. An investigation into what triggered the avalanche is under way, he said.

The slide took place in an area deemed treacherous by forecasters at the Utah Avalanche Center, which put a special avalanche advisory in effect for the western Uintas on Sunday.

And it seems in this crazy season, even avoiding treacherous terrain isn’t necessarily going to keep you safe. Another slide in the Shangri-La area between Big Cottonwood and Millcreek Canyons, on a slope that was less than 30-degrees (generally considered to be safe terrain), buried a skier for 6 minutes; but his companions were able to rescue and revive him, and he was able to ski out on his own.

Whether you ski in the resorts or in the backcountry, please, please, please pay attention to the snow conditions and be careful. If it seems sketchy, then skip it. It’s not worth dying for.