Top Stories February 19, 2021

Backcountry Avalanche Claims One

by Jackson Hole Radio News

Yet another person recreating in the back country has died as the result of an avalanche.

Teton County Search and Rescue was notified of a snowboarder buried by an avalanche just after noon Thursday near Wind River Lake near the top of Togwotee Pass.

Search and Rescue Chief Advisor Cody Lockhart says a group of snowboarders had built a substantial “kicker” to launch up toward a slope, and when the victim landed, it triggered the slide which Lockhart described as having a five-foot crown. The boarder was totally buried.

Lockhart said he was wearing a beacon and his companions were able to unbury him and begin life support efforts.

Coincidentally, members of Search and Rescue were training on snowmobiles a short distance away and were on the scene within ten to 15 minutes. They continued efforts to resuscitate the victim and restored a pulse until he was short-hauled to an ambulance which took him to the airport to be flown to Idaho Falls.

He later died at the hospital. The victim has been identified as a seasonal resident of Jackson, 31-year-old Michael McKelvey.