Yesterday, a group of skiers ignored the backcountry closures at Jackson Hole Mountain Resort, WY and left the resort, heading into the backcountry. Two of them became separated from the group, and when they failed to return, they were reported lost to JHMR ski patrol, reported the Jackson Hole News and Guide.
- Related: Extreme Avalanche Risk Keeps Backcountry Gates at Jackson Hole, WY Remain CLOSED for a Record THIRD Day in a Row
Resort ski patrol called park rangers and Teton County Search and Rescue to assist in the search. Search and Rescue flew a helicopter over the area just before sundown but couldn’t pinpoint the stranded party’s exact location, incident commander KC Bess said. So, while Grand Teton National Park rangers came up with a plan to reach the two stranded skiers, the two of them spent the night out in Granite Canyon.
In an unprecedented move, the backcountry access from the resort has been closed for the last three consecutive days and repeated warnings have been issued not to leave resort boundaries. Officials from the resort, Teton County Search and Rescue, Grand Teton National Park and the Bridger-Teton National Forest decided Tuesday to close the gates amid a storm cycle that had already dumped four feet of snow in the Tetons and raised the avalanche danger rating to “high” at all elevations.
An avalanche warning is in effect until 6 am Friday and will be re-evaluated at 5 am. Conditions remain dangerous.
“At the mid and upper elevations huge loads have been placed on top of a snowpack that has buried persistent weak layers and areas with poor basal snow structure,” the Bridger-Teton Avalanche Center warned in its Thursday evening advisory. “The natural release or human triggering of very large slab avalanches is a real concern with potentially severe consequences. The general avalanche hazard is expected to be considerable on Friday. Patience and conservative terrain choices are essential until the snowpack finishes adjusting to the massive loading that occurred during the past five days. Tomorrow’s sunshine could increase the hazard during the day.”
It’s hard to comprehend what goes through some peoples minds sometimes. I mean, what part of ‘closed’ and ‘extreme avalanche risk’ don’t you understand? Gates are closed, areas are roped off, and warnings are given for our safety, and the safety of potential rescuers.