Avalanche Injures Skier In Sun Valley Backcountry

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Backcountry Skier Seriously Injured After Avalanche In Idaho

According to the Sawtooth Avalanche Center, a backcountry skier was seriously injured in an avalanche in the Warm Springs Creek drainage in Blaine County outside the Sun Valley ski area boundary on Monday, December 14th at 11:35 AM. The avalanche occurred in a backcountry zone called “Baldy Out of Bounds” while the avalanche danger was “High.”

Avalanche Debris - Pixabay
Avalanche Debris | Stock Image

The skier caught in the avalanche was carried approximately 450′. The skier hit a tree and was then buried two feet deep with a hand and leg above the snow surface. His partner found and dug him up, but the report claims that the skier “sustained serious chest and internal injuries.”

The Sawtooth Avalanche Center writes that the avalanche was likely triggered by another party. Here are some quick facts:

  • Aspect: NW
  • Slope Angle: 38-43
  • Elevation: 8800′
  • Size: 120′ wide
  • Length: 1300′ vertical
  • Depth: 3′
  • Avalanche Danger: High – (Natural Avalanches Likely, Human Triggered Avalanches Very Likely)
  • Avalanche Destructive Potential: – D2 (Could Bury, Injure, Or Kill A Person)
North American Public Avalanche Danger Scale - Avalanche.org
North American Public Avalanche Danger Scale

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Read the official “Avalanche Notes” about this avalanche incident  from the Sawtooth Avalanche Center:

“An avalanche in the Warm Springs Creek drainage, in an area commonly known as the “Baldy out of bounds”, caught and buried a skier Monday December 14th at approximately 11:35am. The accident occurred on Forest Service land adjacent to but outside the Sun Valley ski area boundary. The skier struck a tree and sustained serious chest and internal injuries. The victim’s head was buried 2 feet deep and a hand and part of one leg was not buried. His partner quickly located and excavated the victim. The 3 foot deep avalanche released on a NW-facing, 38-43 degree slope near 8800 feet in elevation. The avalanche was roughly 120 feet wide, traveled approximately 1300 vertical feet, and is estimated to be a D2 sized avalanche. The victim was well below the crown, or top, of the avalanche and was only carried approximately 450 feet. The avalanche was likely triggered by either the victim – even though he was over 1000 feet below the crown – or an unknown party skiing above him. The avalanche danger was rated HIGH at the time of the accident and human triggered avalanches will continue to be likely in this area as the snowpack adjusts to recent heavy snowfall. US Forest Service staff from the Sawtooth Avalanche Center will complete the investigation and report findings at www.sawtoothavalanche.com in the coming days.”

Stay tuned for further updates as they become available.

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View general area of avalanche:

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Read more about this Sun Valley avalanche incident from these sources: