NATIONAL NEWS

Backcountry skier dies after being buried in Idaho avalanche

May 11, 2024, 11:57 AM

BOISE, Idaho (AP) — A backcountry skier has died after being buried by an avalanche in Idaho, officials said.

The avalanche occurred Friday when two experienced backcountry skiers were traveling on Donaldson Peak in Idaho’s Lost River Range, the Sawtooth Avalanche Center said.

One skier triggered the slope collapse while climbing down to where the pair were going to ski. He got caught in a small avalanche, which set off a second larger avalanche.

The second skier used a satellite communication device to call for help, and then a rescue transceiver and probe pole to locate the first skier buried under about five feet (1.5 meters) of snow.

She performed CPR on the first skier after digging him out with a shovel. Search and rescue teams evacuated him, but he didn’t survive.

The fatality brings this winter’s tally of avalanche deaths in the U.S. to 16, according to the Colorado Avalanche Information Center. An average of 30 people die in avalanches each year in the U.S.

Avalanche safety specialists say their job has become more difficult in recent years as climate change brings extreme weather. Rising numbers of skiers, snowboarders and snowmobilers have also been visiting backcountry areas since the COVID-19 pandemic.

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