A series of inbounds avalanches at Silver Mountain Ski Resort, ID yesterday killed two skiers and injured five others. Initial reports were that there was one fatality, but the resort posted on Facebook yesterday evening that they had found another person buried under 10-feet of snow.
The three slides, which swept down two runs on Wardner Peak, occurred late Tuesday morning. The specific runs, Morning Star and 16-to-1, had recently opened after patrol had done avalanche control blasting in the area. These runs are among some of the more difficult areas of the mountain for skiers and only accessible by foot after they get off of Chair 4.
The search and rescue operation was conducted jointly between Silver Mountain officials, the Shoshone County Sheriff’s Office, Shoshone County Volunteer Search and Rescue, the Coeur d’Alene Fire Department K-9 Team, and the Idaho Department of Lands, reports the Shoshone News Press.
Rescue efforts were limited to multi-person ground searches with dogs and probes. Starting with the high-debris areas first, teams used a grid system to cover the terrain and search for survivors. Air support was unavailable due to heavy, low-sitting fog covering the mountainous region.
The resort reported 26 inches of snowfall in the past couple of days, much of it wet and heavy, which is also keeping avalanche danger high in the backcountry.