Avalanche in Jackson, WY Backcountry Severely Injures Skier Yesterday

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Jackson Peak, WY avalanche from Sunday.  photo:  Bridger-Teton Avalanche Center
Jackson Peak, WY avalanche from Sunday. photo: Bridger-Teton Avalanche Center

A 32-year-old male skier was caught in an avalanche at 10,100-feet on Jackson Peak in the Gros Ventre Range just east of Jackson, WY on Sunday afternoon.  He reportedly suffered a severe hip/leg injury and is currently in the hospital.

Jackson Peak, WY avalanche from Sunday.  photo:  Bridger-Teton Avalanche Center
Jackson Peak, WY avalanche from Sunday. photo: Bridger-Teton Avalanche Center

“Scott Dixon, 32, from Teton Valley, Idaho was airlifted to St. John’s Medical Center with a hip injury after he was caught in a slide off Jackson Peak at approximately 4:30 p.m. A hard slab break at 10,100 feet was recorded with the Bridger-Teton Avalanche Center. The avalanche occurred on a 36-40 degree slope and was determined human-caused.”Planet Jackson Hole

Map showing location of avalanche on Jackson Peak and the town of Jackson
Map showing location of avalanche on Jackson Peak (red arrow) and the town of Jackson

Scott was skiing with 3 partners when they triggered a slide on the west face of 10,741-foot Jackson Peak.  Scott’s ski partners called 911 and alerted search and rescue to their location.  A helicopter authorized to fly at night was able to reach the group and take the injured skier to St. John’s Medical Center.

This was the second avalanche related injury in the past 10 days in the Jackson area.  On November 1st, a 29-year-old female was caught in an avalanche and suffered a leg injury when skiing on Breccia Peak off Togotawee Pass in Wyoming.

Map showing both of the avalanche locations that have occurred near Jackson, WY in November 2013.
Map showing both of the avalanche locations that have occurred near Jackson, WY in November 2013.

Wyoming has experienced large amounts of early season snow this fall.  They’ve also received rain combined with warm temperatures that has resulted a dangerous crust layer in the Wyoming snowpack.  Bridger-Teton Avalanche Center had the avalanche risk rated as “Low” yesterday when the avalanche occurred but they’ve raised it to “Moderate” today citing the potential for similar avalanche conditions to yesterday’s accident.

TODAY’S AVALANCHE RATING & DISCUSSION:

Screen shot 2013-11-11 at 12.55.30 PM

GENERAL AVALANCHE ADVISORY: Late yesterday, a skier triggered a slide on Jackson Peak, northeast of Jackson. Details are limited at this point, but will be made available as additional information comes in. Similar events are possible today, particularly in extreme terrain. The general avalanche hazard is MODERATE above an elevation of 9,000 feet. On steep northerly aspects, persistent slabs lie upon faceted snow at the base of the snowpack. These slabs could be triggered directly by backcountry travelers, or indirectly by triggering recently developed wind slabs that step down to this deeper weak layer. Daily warming will makes these slabs more susceptible to failure. The general avalanche hazard is LOW below 9,000 feet and avalanches are unlikely.Bridger Teton Avalanche Center


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17 thoughts on “Avalanche in Jackson, WY Backcountry Severely Injures Skier Yesterday

  1. Reading through the above comments I want to let you know how fortunate you are that you have a community that is this passionate about saving lives. My son was caught in a slide on No Name, 11 days ago. There is nothing more frightening than receiving that call as a parent. Fortunately, he and the group he was skiing with had several years of experience skiing in the back country and my son is alive. The Teton Search and rescue saved his life and St. James Hospital has been been the best experience I have ever had with his care and compassion,
    Please take a moment tomorrow to remember how lucky you are to live in such a beautiful part of the country and how every day is to be cherished,

    Scott

  2. Sweet Scotty, so terrifying AND relieving to read this! So thankful you survived… Sending all our love and blessings from Salt Lake City!! Much love dear friend xoxo

  3. Kudos to the young men who are posting on this site in response to “Sharpy”. I am a Mom of one of the posters and I want to say that I know without a doubt these backcountry skiers take every possible precaution to prevent just such disasters. But everyone of them knows that they are in extreme environments and despite all they do to prepare and it may still not be enough. They don’t depend solely on reports from the media. They use years of experience more than anything to “read” the slopes and determine what is safe and what isn’t. And, as with anything in nature, you can’t always predict what is going to happen. All you have to do is read their posts to know they are well schooled in the technology of avalanches. And they all take responsibility for their own choices. Well done.

  4. Wow, Scotty…I sure hope you are okay…but wtf…what were you guys thinking?! And “Sharpy”…are you for real?! lmao!

  5. Oh man, I have to agree with all of you. Our local avy forecast center is generally funded by donations, fundraisers, and very little from the government. They are some of the hardest working, risk-taking, LEAST ENTITLED by their job people you’d ever meet. When they make these assessments they’re generally out before anyone else and sometimes in the worst possible scenarios. We lost one of them last year in a bad situation. We’re all grateful for his contributions and his passion for getting the best information to us skiers. So, before you go ranting, Sharpy, have some gratitude or GTFO!

  6. Sharpy is ridiculous and the map showing the location of both slides is incorrectly showing Breccia Peak off Togotawee Pass to be near Teewinot.

  7. Trying to blame this on a forecaster is completely boneheaded. Avalanche forecasting is inexact. Period. I am glad to see the danger level was bumped up after this accident because I believe that anytime you have windslab on top of facets the danger is moderate at best. If I were the forecaster I would probably have added pockets of considerable on leeward and or crossloaded slopes 35* and steeper. I wish Scott a speedy recovery and hope he is back on the snow as quickly as possible.

  8. True mountaineers know that you take your chances and try to reduce the objective hazards. Those who are dependent on governmental agencies for forecasts, or hold try to hold others responsible for their decisions do not belong in the mountains, and best stay behind their keyboards and finish their Twinkies.

  9. Way out of line. There is absolutely no way these forecasters can get out and dig a pit on every aspect of every slope every day. Forecasts are a tool to be used with other tools to determine the safety of an area. One path can differ significantly from the next over, and even a slope with a pit dug and deemed low risk may have a pocket that triggers something bigger. It is up to the backcountry recreationist to fill their own knowledge banks sufficiently to make an educated judgement when they are there on the ground, and no matter of preparation will eliminate all risk. It’s simply risky business. You do what you can to mitigate it but its definitely no forecasters fault that this guy was injured, and I’d bet he feels the same way. I’m glad to hear he was only injured and that flights were able to run at night for him. Hopefully he has a speedy recovery.

  10. do these guys have tenure or something? Can’t they be fired. big problem with gov’t forecasters! Can’t be fired for incompetence, long as they show up each day. The whole risk rating system needs to be revamped. absurd. Waste of taxpayer money is why it bothers me, if that’s where their endowment comes from.

    1. are you for real sharpy ? anyone who uses the backcountry knows that is up to the individual to gain knowledge on changing snow conditions and you are ultimately responsible for yourself. Every area and every slope is different and day to day it will change. If you are just going by the forecasters opinion you should not be in the mountains in the first place. It is there for an extra tool for you to use on top of your own knowledge but you are playing in mother nature and accidents are going to happen.

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