Pass avalanche skier-triggered, reopening hampered by unaccounted for vehicles

JACKSON HOLE, WYO – An avalanche on Teton Pass that closed Highway 22 this morning (it is still closed) is being blamed on a skier in Twin Slides.

Several backcountry users came forward to attest they saw who did it or know who did it. Buckrail received a few anonymous tips about the incident. One person said everyone knows who it was. The suspected skier took an aggressive line in Twin Slides and triggered the slide. He was then observed by several parties picking up his dog and quickly exiting from the parking area in his vehicle.

“WYDOT has asked skiers not to ski anything in avalanche-prone areas during times of high risk,” stated one eyewitness who preferred to be unnamed. “I was on the bootpack when it happened and we are all pretty sure it was [redacted by Buckrail].”

Others contacting Buckrail insisted name-shaming or outing was in order, that it might send a message that noncompliant behavior could ruin things for the majority that follow the rules and ski safely.

Pass Ambassador Jay Pistono admits he too has been approached by several people. He is still piecing together information but acknowledged a “good portion of the people familiar with the skiing habits of regulars on the pass all pointed to this one individual.”

The suspected skier is a local, known to regularly ski Teton Pass. Pistono said while many believe it is newbies who are the cause of most problems on the Pass, it’s not the case in his experience. “Stubborn locals can be more difficult to deal with than newcomers,” he said.

“Regardless of whether we find or name the guilty party, we all need to learn from this situation. All these individuals coming forward are a good indication that the majority up here take things seriously and are interested in the backcountry access on Teton Pass remaining open,” Pistono said.

The most important message right now, Pistono added, is getting everyone out of the backcountry immediately. WYDOT’s efforts to reopen the pass have been hampered by parked vehicles whose occupants are still unaccounted for. Any further avalanche mitigation that needs to be done cannot as long as WYDOT is unsure of who still might be up there skiing.

“Please, everyone should avoid the trailheads on the Pass until this situation is cleared,” Pistono advised. “That includes Coal Creek. We need to account for all vehicles in the parking areas and anyone who might still be out there.”

Buckrail is withholding the name of the skier believed to have caused the avalanche pending advisement from authorities.

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