Huge avalanche kills 2 backcountry skiers in Tetons

A photo provided by the Bridger-Teton Avalanche Center snows the scope of the avalanche that killed two men who were backcountry skiing in Teton National Park. PHOTO COURTESY TETON NATIONAL PARK. AND BRIDGER-TETON AVALANCHE CENTER.

Total of 27 deaths for the season to-date

SUMMIT COUNTY — The Bridger-Teton Avalanche Center reports that two men were killed by a massive backcountry avalanche on Ranger Peak in Grand Teton National Park.

According to the preliminary report, the avalanche was triggered while they were climbing the route.

The bodies of Steve Romeo and Chris Onufer were recovered Thursday after searchers located the victims by pinpointing signals emitted by their avalanche rescue beacons. Romeo and Onufer were well-known and experienced local mountaineers.

The two deaths brought the total number of avalanche fatalities to 27 for the winter across the country, including 12 skiers, nine snowmobilers and five snowboarders.Three of the deadly accidents have been within ski resort boundaries. Continue reading

Three avalanche deaths in Montana

New snow and strong winds made for unstable conditions in the mountains around Cooke City. This side was triggered by a snowmobiler which resulted in a fatality. PHOTO COURTESY GALLATIN NATIONAL FOREST AVALANCHE CENTER/ JON MARSHALL. Click for more images.

New snow atop faceted base equals unstable snowpack

By Summit Voice

SUMMIT COUNTY — Winter recreation turned deadly in the Rocky Mountains of Montana during the New Years weekend, as two snowmobilers and a backcountry skier died in separate avalanches, according to the Gallatin National Forest Avalanche Center.

With a thick layer of faceted crystals near the ground, the avalanche hazard spiked Saturday after a snowstorm hit the northern Rockies, and powderhounds ventured out into the backcountry in search of fresh snow.

Similar conditions are likely to prevail in Colorado when the snow comes. Visit the Colorado Avalanche Information Center online for more info. Continue reading

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