Snow and Avalanche Center 2015 Avalanche News

Skier-Triggered Avalanche On Teton Pass Traps Three Cars
Dec 26, 2015

This is also archived in our Incidents Section, with one photo included there.

Amidst a giant week for snow in the Tetons – with upwards of 40" of powder landing on a weak, faceted snowpack – the inevitable trot of backcountry travelers into the mountains has resulted in many close calls and several particularly dangerous situations. This Wednesday, a backcountry traveler likely trying to exit the bottom of the Twin Slides route down the steep road cut that hang over Highway 22 triggered an avalanche on the road cut that swept across the westbound lane of traffic, trapping three vehicles in the avalanche debris and reducing traffic to one lane. Highway patrol had to assist to get the vehicles freed.

"The road-cut at Twin Slide is one of the most critical spots along the highway when there is a ton of new snow. A slide there is guaranteed to hit the highway," said Linda Merigliano, the Recreation, Wilderness and Trails Program Manager for the Bridger-Teton National Forest. "More incidents like this could result in a much worse outcome for motorists or create pressure to close the Twin Slides run to skiing and boarding ... this incident is a graphic reminder that access to skiing on Mt Glory is dependent on skiers/boarders exercising some responsibility and consideration for other people."

If you are planning on recreating in the Tetons this holiday break, please keep in mind the gorgeous new snow–almost 100" this December alone–sits on a bed layer of weak, faceted snow that has been releasing slab avalanches of between three and five feet in depth with serious consequences.

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