Skier Fully Buried & Seriously Injured in Avalanche Just Outside Sun Valley Ski Resort, Idaho

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Photo of the avalanche crown today. image: sawtooth avalanche center
Photo of the avalanche crown today. image: sawtooth avalanche center

A skier was fully buried and seriously injured in an avalanche just outside the boundaries of Sun Valley ski resort in Idaho yesterday at 11:35am.  While being carried by the avalanche for 450-feet, the skier hit a tree with his chest causing serious injury.  The skier’s head was buried 2-feet below the surface but luckily one of his legs and one of his hands were above the surface allowing his partner to quickly locate him and dig him up.

The avalanche was 3-feet deep, 120-feet wide, and it ran for 1,300-vertical-feet.  The avalanche released on a 38-43º northwest facing slope at 8,800-feet.  The avalanche was estimated to be a D2 sized avalanche.

Avalanche Danger in Sun Valley area rated as "HIGH" yesterday. image: sac
Avalanche Danger in Sun Valley area rated as “HIGH” yesterday. image: sac

The avalanche was triggered by the victim or another party above him.  The avalanche crown broke 1,000-feet above the victim.

The avalanche danger was rated as “HIGH” at the time of the avalanche. 

16-20″ of new snow had fallen in the 24 hours before this avalanche.

An F-250 Ford Pickup Truck under large amounts of snow at the Sawtooth Avalanche Center office in Idaho this morning. photo: sac
An F-250 Ford Pickup Truck under large amounts of snow at the Sawtooth Avalanche Center office in Idaho this morning. photo: sac

Sawtooth Avalanche Center Report:

An avalanche in the Warm Springs Creek drainage, in an area commonly known as the “Baldy out of bounds”, caught and buried a skier Monday December 14th at approximately 11:35am. The accident occurred on Forest Ser vice land adjacent to but outside the Sun Valley ski area boundary. The skier struck a tree and sustained serious chest and internal injuries. The victim’s head was buried 2 feet deep and a hand and part of one leg was not buried. His partner quickly located and excavated the victim. The 3 foot deep avalanche released on a NW–facing, 38-43 degree slope near 8800 feet in elevation. The avalanche was roughly 120 feet wide, traveled approximately 1300 vertical feet, and is estimated to be a D2 sized avalanche. The victim was well below the crown, or top, of the avalanche and was only carried approximately 450 feet. The avalanche was likely triggered by either the victim – even though he was over 1000 feet below the crown – or an unknown party skiing above him. The avalanche danger was rated HIGH at the time of the accident and human triggered avalanches will continue to be likely in this area as the snowpack adjusts to recent heavy snowfall. US Forest Service staff from the Sawtooth Avalanche Center will complete the investigation and report findings at www.sawtoothavalanche.com in the coming days.

 

SAWTOOTH AVALANCHE CENTER ADVISORY for DECEMBER 14TH, 2015:

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