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Avalanche Victims Criticized For Poor Choices

Jackson Peak Avalanche

A 32 year-old Teton Valley man is being described as very lucky to be alive by avalanche experts here. Scott Dixon was skiing with three companions when the four apparently triggered the slide on the west face of Jackson Peak and Dixon suffered a leg injury in the slide. Responding to a 911 call, members of Teton County Search and Rescue were transported to the scene aboard the county’s contract helicopter and rendered initial treatment to Dixon.  Then, as it was becoming dark, the EIRMC helicopter, which has authority to fly at night, was dispatched to the scene and transported Dixon to St. John’s Medical Center for Treatment. Director of the Bridger-Teton Avalanche Forecast Center Bob Comey examined the scene and calls the slide “a killer avalanche.”  Comey says this was a “bone crushing” slide containing many boulders.  He describes it as a steep couloir, very rocky, very extreme.  Says Comey:  “It was a very poor terrain choice, especially given the conditions, and these people are so lucky to be alive.  Comey says the avalanche ran 800 to 1000 feet down a slope of 40 to 45 degrees originating in two foot to four foot slabs.  Like a similar incident nine days ago, Comey says rescue volunteers were unnecessarily put in harm’s way by the skiers’ poor choices.  He points out that both this event and the one nine days ago happened just prior to 5:00 pm, and both had the potential for multiple people to be severely injured or killed during the event; plus it put into jeopardy those who had to come in and get them. Comey says snow coverage is quite significant in many places around the county for this time of year, and there are good terrain choices available for about any level of skier without being exposed to this kind of danger.

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