Epstein, 43, was about to drop into one of the Air Force chutes near Jackson Hole Mountain Resort when the fracture occurred. The slide swept him more than 1,000 feet down the mountain, according to a press release. His two companions were not injured.
Jackson Hole Ski Patrol arrived at the scene about an hour after the incident, where they stabilized Epstein and transported him 400 feet to the bottom of the chutes. From there, he was airlifted to the hospital.
Epstein, a well-known photographer, and his companions had already made one backcountry run that day. All three are expert skiers with extensive knowledge of the area, and each was carrying the proper safety equipment, including beacons and probes.
It’s been an especially dangerous avalanche season across the West. A backcountry skier died in an avalanche in southern Colorado on Tuesday, raising the number of people killed by slides this winter to 19.