Earlier today an avalanche took place on Pucker Face just outside the Southern boundary of Jackson Hole Mountain Resort. One male was caught in the slide and according to the Bridger Teton Avy Center, has perished as a result. Our hearts and prayers are with his friends & family.
Earlyups’ thoughts on the event here.
Final Update: JH News And Guide concludes the tragic events here. They are reporting two others were caught in the slide but uninjured. As we previously reported, Mikey Kazanjy was caught and killed in a slide on Pucker Face outside the boundary of Jackson Hole Mountain Resort. This was the first of two deadly avalanches on Thursday, the other killing a snowmobiler near Palisade Peak. We’ll leave our original story, and updates, below. Be safe out there.
Original Post – 2:00 MST: Details are sparse at this time. However, the BTAC is reporting one fatality in the slide here. In the BTAC report, it is mentioned the victim was the first person on the slope, an East facing shot a short hike from the upper-most Southern gate at Jackson Hole Mountain Resort. Additionally, JH News and Guide has confirmed the fatality and reports all other members of the party to be accounted for here. Unconfirmed eyewitness reports mention the fatality was a male snowboarder and was a passholder of the mountain. (Editors Note: It has now been confirmed via JH News and Guide the victim was a male snowboarder)
UPDATE 1: JH News and Guide reporting the following as of 2:55 – “Jackson Hole Mountain Resort officials said the victim of an avalanche was a male snowboarder. They did not release a name or hometown. He was buried at about 12:50 p.m., the company said in a statement. “The incident was witnessed by numerous backcountry travelers including JHMR Backcountry Guides, who were in the vicinity,” the statement said. Jackson Hole Ski Patrol responded. The victim was pronounced dead at the scene at 1:31 p.m., the statement said. Resort officials expressed their regret.”
UDATE 2: We’re getting word the victims name is Micael Kazanjy, 29, a Bay area man who had recently relocated to Jackson, WY. Unfortunately, we’re hearing this was the first of two avalanche fatalities today in the greater Wyoming area. The second involved a snowmobiler near Palisades Peak. More Here.
Avalanche danger today was moderate at high and mid elevations and low at low elevations. You can read the full forecast here. The forecast does mention a persistent slab that if triggered, would be likely to go “large to very large” on all aspects. A crown at the bottom portion of Pucker Face was visible prior to today’s events.
For reference, here is a closer up photo of the face during low-tide from GetUngrounded.com.
In addition, we’re embedding a video of a snowboarder triggering a slide on the same face a few years back. This is not video of the slide that occurred today. Please ignore the (really) cheesy effects. We will continue to update this post with additional information as it comes available.
More Photos of the Face and PREVIOUS slides.
Earlyups’ Thoughts: Our hearts and prayers go out to the family and friends of the victim. Even though we did not personally know the rider involved, this one hits close to home. Not only is this location in our backyard but its a peak most of us passionate snow-sliders in town really enjoy playing upon. Its a line we’ve skied in the past and a face that is often hammered with traffic on “moderate” stability blue bird days. Although now isn’t the time to play “armchair quarterback”, I don’t think I’m alone when I say this slide has made me really reconsider my own decision making process, especially early season when a skier is more likely to impact lower near-ground (less than awesome) layers. This isn’t the venue to get into the “right” and “wrong” of this event, but it certainly has us shaken up. Again, to the victim, his family, and his friends, our thoughts and prayers are with you.
-Stay safe out there-