Jackson, WY Snowboarder Michael McKelvey, 31, Killed by Avalanche Near Togwotee Pass Yesterday

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Michael McKelvey and the avalanche scene. Credit: Jeremy Jones / TCSAR

A popular and well-loved snowboarder was killed following an avalanche in the Togwotee Pass area of Wyoming yesterday.

 

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Michael McKelvey, 31, of Jackson, WY, was with a group of snowboarders near Two Ocean Mountain and Wind River Lake in Bridger-Teton National Forest. It appears he hit a jump onto a northeast-facing slope, triggering an avalanche that buried him.

“They built a big jump that landed on the face of a steep ravine. A 5-foot slide broke loose and buried him at the bottom.”

– news release

He was quickly located beneath almost 12-feet of snow, via his beacon and a probe, by his party. They dug him out, helped by rescue volunteers who were on a nearby training mission. Although he initially had no pulse, he was revived with an external defibrillator. After being short-hauled out, he was taken to Eastern Idaho Regional Medical Center, where he sadly succumbed to his injuries.

 

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The Teton County Sheriff’s Office, who had received a 911 call reporting the incident, also responded along with US Forest Service personnel and Grand Teton National Park medics.

Yesterday’s avalanche forecast for the area was ‘considerable’ above 8,000-feet.

This is the second avalanche fatality in Western Wyoming in as many days and follows the recent tragic avalanche accidents nationwide. With recent heavy snowfall and more on the way, a reminder to please keep it safe out there, warns Teton County Search and Rescue. At least 12 people have been caught in avalanches in Western Wyoming since Sunday.

Two Ocean Mountain, WY

There have been 21 fatalities across the US in February alone, and 28 all season.

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Yesterday’s avalanche forecast for the Togwotee area. Credit: BTAC

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