Sketchy details at this time, but folks are saying that an area called the “Headwall” slid into the resort at about 9:30 this morning and damaged occupied buildings. No reported injuries or fatalities. Prayers from here to all who are responding to the scene.
Originally Posted by JHMR
(Jackson Hole, Wyoming, December 29, 2008 4:00pm MST) At approximately 9:26 am this morning routine avalanche hazard reduction work by Jackson Hole Mountain Resort (JHMR) Ski Patrol triggered an avalanche of significant size down the southeast aspect of an area at JHMR referred to as the Headwall. The Headwall which had not been open to the public this season to date and was not expected to open in the near future, consists of steep, expert terrain.
The slide descended from the top of the Headwall, and a second slide was triggered, which continued down to the base of the run reaching the west and south sides of the building that houses three resort restaurants, causing considerable non-structural damage to the building.
This incident took place prior to the Bridger Gondola being open to the public, but a number of JHMR operational employees were in the vicinity. A search for potential victims was conducted and by 10:06am, all JHMR employees were accounted for.
Following the incident a decision was made to close the resort temporarily while further avalanche hazard reduction work took place. Lower mountain lifts were quickly re-opened. At this time the upper mountain remains closed while Ski Patrol continues its avalanche hazard reduction routines in an attempt to get the resort re-opened as quickly and safely as possible.
Due to the significant snowfall received in the Teton region (62 inches in past seven days), we have received a request from our partners at Bridger Teton National Forest to close the OB gates into the surrounding backcountry. JHMR will honor this request and close all our gates into the backcountry until further notice.
WildSnow.com publisher emeritus and founder Lou (Louis Dawson) has a 50+ years career in climbing, backcountry skiing and ski mountaineering. He was the first person in history to ski down all 54 Colorado 14,000-foot peaks, has authored numerous books about about backcountry skiing, and has skied from the summit of Denali in Alaska, North America’s highest mountain.