The Six Soldiers Injured in a Vermont Avalanche were Conducting a Safety Appraisal on the Slope

SnowBrains | | AvalancheAvalanche
Vermont, smugglers notch, avalanche, soldiers
Vermont National Guard soldiers on a training exercise emerge from a closed section on Vermont 108 in Cambridge, Vt., just below Smugglers Notch on Wednesday night, March 14, 2018, after six soldiers were swept approximately 300 meters by an avalanche. Credit: Ryan Mercer/The Burlington Free Press via AP

The six US soldiers that were injured in an avalanche during a training exercise in Vermont were part of an advanced group conducting a safety appraisal of the slope and setting up a ropes course, Vermont National Guard officials said Friday.

Two soldiers remained hospitalized Friday in good and fair conditions while they recover from injuries suffered in the Wednesday avalanche. Guard officials would not describe the nature of the injuries or release their names.

The ropes course that was being set up for those participating in a lower-level course was canceled and the training program for about 50 people wrapped up Friday. No more full courses are scheduled this winter.
Soldier being taken to hospital after an avalanche in Vermont. Credit: wcax

Lt. Col. Matthew Brown, the commander of the U.S. Army Mountain Warfare School, said the area has been used for winter training exercises since the early 1990s.

“This, to my knowledge, is the first time we have ever had a student involved in any incident like this,” Brown said during a Friday news conference at the mountain school headquarters in Jericho.

Brown said safety was always paramount when conducting operations in the mountains and that an investigation would be conducted into the incident.

Map showing the location of the avalanche off Mt. Mansfield, VT.

Master Sgt. Tom Bevins, the senior non-commissioned officer who helped direct the rescue, said there have been avalanches in the area in the past, but the spot where the snow gave way was about 900 feet below where avalanches usually begin. “It’s very rare,” he said.


Six soldiers were carried down the gully by the snow, which traveled about 300 feet (275 meters). One of the soldiers managed to push his way to safety at the edge of the avalanche.

The other soldiers were immediately located and none were buried under the snow, Brown said. They were all evacuated by ambulance within two hours.

Related Articles

Got an opinion? Let us know...