Skier-Rigged Avalanche Sparks Debate

Did backcountry guide endanger others?

Avalanche

Avalanche     Photo: sgillies/Flickr

On Tuesday, an experienced skier deliberately triggered an avalanche on a highly-trafficked area of Wyoming's Taylor Mountain, causing a 2,600-foot slide and sparking fierce discussion in the backcountry ski community. At around 1:30 p.m., a man identified as a local "avalanche guru" made a ski cut above a popular line, intending to release an small avalanche and make the slope safer for him and his party. The massive slide ran up over the opposite slope, obliterating ski lines and skin tracks, and leaving a 30-foot-deep debris field. Teton Search and Rescue teams responded to look for buried victims, but no one was hurt. A debate followed in the comments section of ski blog Teton AT, with some noting that triggering an avalanche at a popular time of day was risky. "We just had and are still in the grips of one of the most widespread avalanche cycles in 30 years, and Glory bowl gets center punched daily during high rating," commented reader Mike Fischer. "We have a VERY serious snowpack right now, and a ski community with a serious lack of respect."

Read more at Teton Valley News

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