Idaho ski resort closed after 2 people killed in avalanche
KELLOGG, Idaho (AP) — An Idaho ski resort was closed on Wednesday, a day after a series of avalanches killed two skiers and injured five others.
Silver Mountain Resort spokesman Gus Colburn said all the skiers in the area of the avalanches Tuesday morning were believed to be accounted for.
The names of the victims have not been released.
The resort said what appeared to be a series of three avalanches occurred about 11 a.m. on Wardner Peak, an area of the resort where the ski runs are rated at the highest difficulty level.
The runs had just been opened for a short period after crews performed avalanche control blasting in the area Tuesday morning, using explosives to trigger avalanches in hopes of leaving only the stable snow layers on the runs, officials said.
Rescue crews and volunteers searched the avalanche area with dogs and probes. Five people with minor injuries were found during the day, a sixth skier was discovered under about 10 feet (3 meters) of snow and did not survive. The final skier was found after dark. He was taken to a local hospital and pronounced dead.
“Silver Mountain extends our deepest condolences to everyone affected, and out of respect to the families, no further comments will be released at this time,” the resort said on Facebook.
Silver Mountain Resort is located about 60 miles (96 kilometers) east of Spokane, Washington, along Interstate 90 in the Idaho Panhandle.
Skiers flocked to the area on Tuesday morning after reports of 13 inches (33 centimeters) inches of new snow. The snow was heavy and wet, causing some skiers to worry about avalanche conditions, The Spokesman-Review newspaper reported.
″’I thought conditions were kind of sketchy,″ Bruce Rosenoff, 72, told the newspaper. He remembered an avalanche on the same peak in 1980.
Wardner Peak had been open less than an hour when officials described a series of avalanches.
Experts say most avalanche survivors are dug out within 30 minutes.
Wardner Peak is an area that is not served by a chairlift, but it still patrolled and managed by the resort. Skiers ride a chair to its terminus and then traverse along a ridge to the peak, which offers expert runs.
During the 2018-19 winter, 25 people died in avalanches in the United States, the newspaper reported.