The avalanche forecast on Bridger Teton Avalanche Center on 2/26.
Due to a combination of high avalanche danger, a special avalanche advisory, and an ongoing Search and Rescue operation, Jackson Hole Mountain Resort has agreed to close all backcountry gates North and South of the ski area at the request of Grand Teton National Park. An ongoing snow storm has deposited upwards of four feet of snow with 3.5 inches of moisture in the mountains since Saturday evening. Strong winds have created dense wind slabs that Bridger Teton Avalanche Center reports to be up to six feet deep in some places.
Human triggered slab avalanches are very likely. These slides could run full track. Avalanche run out zones should be avoided…up to three and a half inches of snow water equivalent has been added to persistent weak layers of faceted snow deep in the snowpack. Very large to historic size deep slab avalanche releases are possible on these persistent weak layers. These very dangerous avalanches could run long distances into mature forest, valley floors and flat terrain. These destructive slabs could be up to 8 to 16 feet deep at the highest elevations and 3 to 5 feet deep at the lower elevations.
A screenshot from Jackson Hole Mountain Resort's instagram story on 2/26.
From Teton County SAR:
The Teton County Sheriff’s Office announced this morning that an active Search and Rescue operation is in progress on Togwotee Pass to rescue three snowmobilers that were trapped overnight near Angle Mountain on Togwotee Pass. Search and Rescue personnel have been in contact with the stranded individuals, who have reported that they are not injured, but are unable to exit the backcountry. Due to road closures, Search and Rescue personnel will have to execute the rescue and access the stranded group via snowmobiles through the Gros Ventre.
In addition to this rescue, the Teton County Sheriff’s Office has requested emergency closure of all backcountry access gates at Jackson Hole Mountain Resort due to staff and Search and Rescue personnel involvement with storm related incidents across the valley. Road closures, elevated avalanche danger, potential risk to rescuers, and continued weather events are all factors in this decision. Grand Teton National Park requested similar closure of all backcountry gates that access the Park from lift access areas of the resort starting this morning.
The Sheriff’s Office would like to thank the public for their patience during these dangerous conditions, and reminds all residents and visitors to exercise extreme caution on the roads and in all areas of the backcountry.
Craig Kelly was unquestionably a legend, a pioneer, a masterful artist and above all an insightful and intuitive human who was lost too soon. January 21, 2016 marked the 13th year since Kelly passed away tragically in an avalanche guiding a backcountry mission near Revelstoke, BC, according to Transworld Snowboarding. While inducting him into the U.S. Ski and Snowboard Hall of Fame in 2013, they said, "nobody ever, in the history of snowboarding has meant so much to so many people
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