2nd Avalanche Death of Season in USA Occurs on Same Day as 1st | Deployed Airbag Didn’t Help

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Map showing location of Salt River Range, WY

The 2nd avalanche fatality of the season in the USA occurred yesterday in the Salt River Range of Wyoming.

The 1st avalanche fatality of the season in the USA also occurred yesterday in Colorado.


Yesterday, a snowmobiler who deployed an airbag died in an avalanche near Sheep Pass in the Salt River Range and the second skier to cross a slope was partially buried in a terrain trap on Teton Pass. At this point, the information on the fatality is limited. Snow that fell during the past week lies upon persistent weak layers. The weight of a single person can trigger a slab avalanche on steep avalanche-prone terrain. At the mid and upper elevations these slab avalanches are large enough to fully bury or seriously injure a person. At the lower elevations, where poor snowpack structure exists, small avalanches are possible on steep slopes. This type of avalanche hazard is best managed by terrain assessment skills and conservative terrain choices. Evaluate steep slopes carefully and anticipate the potential consequences of triggering a large slab avalanche or a slab avalanche of any size in terrain traps or on slopes with low snow hazards that can cause serious trauma.

JHavalanche.org, 12/19/20

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