Avalanches kill two, injure one as snow lures skiers to backcountry
Snowstorms that have given some ski resorts a second wind this week also lured skiers to the backcountry, where heavy deposits of new snow have caused hazardous conditions in some areas.
A Bitterroot (Idaho) Valley woman and another backcountry skier died in a California avalanche while descending a mountain in the Sierra Nevada.
The Inyo County Sheriff’s Department identified the woman as Christine Seashore, 56, of Darby. The avalanche struck on Saturday as the ski party, including her husband John Turk, descended 13,652-foot Mount Tom near the California-Nevada border.
Also killed was Will Crljenko, 52, of Bishop, Calif. Both victims were experienced skiers and carried avalanche beacons.
Turk and other skiers found Seashore within 20 minutes of the avalanche, under 10 feet of snow, but were unable to revive her.
A backcountry skier injured in an avalanche near Galena Summit in Idaho was rescued by two fellow skiers and rescuers that were flown to the base of the slide area by a Ketchum-based helicopter pilot.
Ketchum resident Steve Waltcher broke his calf bone, wrist, pelvis and both thigh bones, including one compound fracture, after being swept through the trees by an avalanche that was 140 feet wide and up to 2 feet in depth.
Idaho has been hit by storms that have deposited more than 2 feet of snow in the mountains in recent weeks.