Detailed Accident Report

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Date: 2002-03-03
Submitted By: BTNFAC
Place: Teton Pass
State: WY
Country: USA
Summary: 2 close calls on the same day

On March 3 a party skiing a slope on the East face of Mt. Taylor near Teton Pass in Wyoming triggered a slide that carried one member over a cliff and buried him up to his neck. Nearby skiers extricated him from the snow. He had a hip injury and was evacuated from the scene by Teton County Search and Rescue and two Jackson Hole Ski Patrolmen who were flown in with a Crystal tobaggan as conditions did not permit additional flights. The party had made no evaluations of the slope but felt they `didn't just jump in.` Unfortunately they didn't see that just two hours earlier a skier on an adjacent slope had triggered a slide that carried him 2000 vertical feet. That person was thrown to the side of the main deposition area by a bend in the drainage. He was buried to the neck with one hand out but anchored to his still attached skis. A dog was lost in one of the slides.

Both slides were on a slick, thick sun crust from an unusually warm late February sunny period. Light density snow then fell on the crusts with little bonding. Neither slide was very deep but released wide areas that then funnelled into gulleys.