On Saturday, December 1, at 9:55 am, sixteen people were skiing and snowboarding on the southern end of Expert Chutes, an inbounds zone at Jackson Hole Mountain Resort, when an avalanche broke above them. In a matter of seconds, the 150-foot wide slab with a 2-foot crown barreled down the slope, burying five skiers below. Without hesitation, onlookers immediately sprung into action and the ski patrol responded swiftly. Thanks to the cooperation and preparedness of the community and the resort, everyone was rescued without serious injury, reports Teton Gravity Research.
“The response really says a lot about the local community, and it’s a testament to the amount of training and knowledge that our local skiers equip themselves with before they go into the mountains,” said Anna Cole, spokesperson for Jackson Hole Mountain Resort.
Right after it happened, the slide was called in by two different parties as good samaritans and JHMR employees on the scene started to dig out the buried victims, TGR continues. The ski patrol arrived just 5 minutes after the slide and avalanche dogs were on site just two minutes after that. Within that window, self-rescue efforts were already underway.
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After all buried skiers were uncovered and brought to safety, ski patrol continued to search the scene with a combination of avalanche dogs, a Recco device, and avalanche beacons. As an additional precaution, they set up a probe line all the way down the debris pile to ensure that there were no other victims that had gone unnoticed. By 11:20 am the area was declared clear. With their search finished, the team shifted their attention to continue avalanche mitigation for the remainder of the day.
All in all, the rescue was an incredible team effort between JHMR staff and the local Jackson community. One group who especially rose to the occasion was the Jackson Hole Ski and Snowboard Club, who made sure each and every one of their students was accounted for. The club’s coach Kevin Keane was one of the first responders to act swiftly and support the efforts of ski patrol when they arrived.
“While the outcome could have been worse, this ended up providing a learning experience for all and shows the strength of our community – and some young athletes with strong character,” explained executive director of the club Brian Krill.
The true silver lining was that nobody was seriously hurt in the incident.
Check out the full article and report at tetongravity.com