Bridger-Teton Avalanche Center

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The avalanche risk warning for Northwest Wyoming is “Considerable,” right now, or a 3 on a 5 point scale.

Bob Comey  is the director at the Bridger-Teton National Forest Avalanche Center. He says this risk level is associated with the most avalanche deaths, because more people are still willing to take the chance on venturing into the back country, as opposed to when the risk level is “High” or “Extreme”.

Comey cautions skiers, snowboarders, snowmobilers, and snowshoers to check avalanche conditions before heading out, and be more conservative when assessing risks.  

Bridger-Teton Avalanche Center

The Rocky Mountain states have experienced avalanche activity in recent weeks that forecasters are calling ‘historic.’

Wyoming experienced some of its largest avalanches in decades. "These are thirty, fifty, maybe a hundred year events," says Bridger Teton Avalanche Center director Bob Comey.

The spate of slides culminated this weekend, with avalanches burying several roads and popular trails in the Jackson area.

Two dead in western Wyoming avalanches

Jan 28, 2013

Avalanches killed two skiers from Jackson in western Wyoming yesterday.  Elizabeth Gray Benson, 28, was west of Bondurant when an avalanche caught her and carried her into a tree. Nick Gillespie, 30, was in the north end of the Teton Range.

Bob Comey with the Bridger-Teton Avalanche Center says significant new snowfall on top of a slick, older base of snow means the risk for avalanches is considerable.

The winter storm in northwest Wyoming has caused avalanches in Jackson Hole, Teton Pass, and Hoback Canyon. And the Bridger-Teton Avalanche Center says more slides are likely to come.

An avalanche warning is in effect through Friday night. Forecaster Jim Springer says that doesn’t just mean there’s a risk of avalanches; it means they’re already happening.

“If you venture out right now, you’re going to have avalanche problems,” Springer said.

He added that conditions are ideal for slides right now, because early-season snow has been sitting for so long.

Parts of the Bridger-Teton National Forest got more than two feet of snow last week, which led to a considerable risk of avalanches.

The Bridger-Teton Avalanche Center has now reduced the risk to “moderate,” which means natural avalanches are unlikely but human-triggered avalanches are possible.

Lead forecaster Bob Comey says avalanches are often a result of people skiing, snowshoing or snowmobiling in the wrong place at the wrong time.