UPDATE: Snowmobiler killed in avalanche Northwest of Ketchum

Avalanche occurred approximately eight miles Southwest of Galena Summit
Published: Feb. 19, 2021 at 5:31 PM MST
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KETCHUM, Idaho (KMVT/KSVT) — New details are emerging after a snowmobiler was killed in an avalanche Northwest of Ketchum on Friday. KMVT is putting you first with the latest on what the Sawtooth Avalanche Center is calling an unprecedented amount of avalanche fatalities across the West this season.

The Sawtooth Avalance Center shared with KMVT objective findings from Friday’s snowmobile triggered avalanche fatality, something they hope will help the public put themselves in the decision-making mindset when recreating the backcountry.

Friday’s avalanche fatality was the first one in Idaho this season. The Sawtooth Avalanche Center said the individual in Friday’s avalanche was caught and carried at least 600 vertical feet. the rider had deployed an airbag and was found by their partners on the surface, and was determined to have died due to injuries incurred during the avalanche.

“Ongoing stormy weather was certainly a factor,” said avalanche forecaster Ethan Davis.

They say it has been an unprecedented season for avalanche fatalities in the entire United States. Stating that February alone has been one of the deadliest avalanche months on record. They also want the community to understand that the rash of avalanche fatalities in the west is not a fluke.

“It is actually a lot more of a pattern that has been emerging,” said Davis. “We started this season across much of the mountain West with just a really weak layer of snow near the ground, and as snow piles, up on top of that weak layer we are seeing more and more avalanches occurring on that weak layer and unfortunately many of those have been fatal.”

They remind the community there are also varying levels of risk when you put yourself out into the backcountry.

“That’s our mission at the Sawtooth Avalanche Center is to try and provide information that is potentially life-saving, that can help inform people when they are making decisions on when and how to travel in the back county,” Davis said.

The Sawtooth Avalanche Center said a full accident report will be completed in the upcoming days.

ORIGINAL: (2/19)

A snowmobiler has been killed in an avalanche Northwest of Ketchum.

According to the Sawtooth Avalanche Center’s Facebook page, it happened in the Smiley Creek drainage, approximately eight miles Southwest of Galena Summit. Other members of the rider’s party were unable to revive the rider at the accident site.

KMVT will continue to update this story as more information becomes available.

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