Monday morning: It was a good day to be a kid in Jackson, Wyoming, waking up to the first snow day in 20 years. The town of Jackson saw roughly 40 inches of snow in the past five days, with brief periods of freezing rains, creating unusually hazardous road conditions. Both the Teton Pass and the Snake River Canyon were closed, preventing key personnel such as teachers and police officers, from making the commute into town.
Wednesday afternoon: As the snow continued to accumulate, multiple avalanches ripped down the Snake River Canyon. On highway 89 between Hoback and Alpine, one of the avalanches buried a 5-ton truck. Neither the driver nor his passenger were injured, but the truck was completely buried.
“I could see the big cloud of snow dust and I was like ‘Aw crap,”
Clay Skinner, driver of the 5-ton rig
Ironically enough, Skinner had just returned from a work trip in Haiti.
“I think I’m going back to Haiti. There’s no snow there.”
There were about 12 slides reported in Snake Canyon on Monday and Tuesday alone. Fortunately for many commuters, the Highway was finally cleared of snow debris by early Wednesday evening. Those who had been caught in or out of Jackson were finally free to safely travel the highway stretch once again.
More information on Wyoming avalanche road safety: Avalanche Droids: New Advances in Avalanche Safety For Wyoming Highways