The start to the snow season in the USA has been mammoth, with big November snowfalls and many resorts opening early. But with big snow comes bigger avalanche risk as multiple skiers found out today while skiing the Expert Chutes at Jackson Hole.
The skiers triggered an in bound avalanche with five people caught in the avalanche and buried to different degrees including one almost completely buried. There were no fatalities and all involved are now reported as safe.
Reports say that the crown of the avalanche was two feet deep and 150 feet wide.
The resort’s official statement is as follows.
An avalanche occurred within the ski area boundary earlier today at Jackson Hole Mountain Resort (JHMR). This slide, which occurred in the southern end of the Expert Chutes, was reported at approximately 9:55 am and before 10 am Jackson Hole Ski Patrol and staff were on the scene. Multiple skiers were caught in the slide, and five individuals were buried to varying degrees.
Once on scene, Patrol immediately responded to the individuals caught in the slide, then Ski Patrol made a hasty search of the area with two dogs, a Recco device and beacons. A larger scale search and probing of the area to ensure no other guests were caught in the debris followed. At approximately 11:20 am JH Ski Patrol concluded the search of the area, while it remained closed to guests. The parties involved in the incident did not experience any significant injuries.
JHMR will be conducting avalanche reduction efforts this afternoon and Thunder Lift will remained closed for the day. We thank everyone who helped support this incident today; safety of our employees and guests is always our number one priority.
As always, kudos to ski patrol and the swift and transparent communications from the resort.