Injured woman rescued after Wyoming avalanche sweeps her 1,500 feet downhill

Posted at 7:54 AM, Feb 06, 2024

Search and rescue officials in Wyoming said they were able to rescue an injured skier who was swept downhill in an avalanche on Sunday.

According to a news release from the National Park Service, the woman was one of five skiers on Prospector's Mountain in Grand Teton National Park in Wyoming. The mountain has an elevation of over 11,000 feet.

The skiers were near the top of the Banana Couloir, a gully along the side of the mountain that is popular for skiing and located at an elevation of about 10,800 feet, when they triggered an avalanche.

All five skiers were caught by the avalanche, but three were able to stop themselves from being swept further downhill. A fourth was carried 500 feet.

The woman was carried about 1,500 feet down the mountain and "sustained serious injuries," according to the NPS. However, neither she nor the other skier who were carried by the avalanche were fully buried by snow.

Three rescue volunteers from Teton County Search and Rescue and a pilot were summoned by Grand Teton National Park rangers to help the woman. The volunteers were able to find the woman and secure her to a fixed rope connected to a helicopter for a short flight to a waiting ambulance.

The rest of the skiers were able to leave the mountain by themselves, the NPS said.

The NPS did not share any information about the woman's condition, or what kind of injuries she sustained.

Officials advised that those skiing in the mountain range check daily avalanche forecasts before heading out. There have been multiple avalanche-related deaths in 2024, including a male skier who was swept into a Wyoming gully after triggering a 50-feet wide avalanche in mid-January. The man was buried in snow for about 15 minutes before his companion found him. Both were rescued by Teton County Search and Rescue, but the man, identified as 41-year-old David Rice, did not survive.

Teton County Search and Rescue said at the time that it had responded to multiple rescue calls in recent days, including four calls in just a few hours after a "significant storm created dangerous avalanche conditions throughout our region."