Skier James Garner, 28, walked away from an out-of-bounds fall over a cliff at Grand Targhee Resort Thursday without any injuries.
Garner, of Sydney, Australia, was transported to Teton Valley Hospital in Driggs, Idaho, where a Teton County sheriff’s deputy noted in his report that he displayed “no visible injuries.”
That was notable because Garner slid about 100 feet in an avalanche before falling over a 200- to 300-foot cliff. He had ducked under the ropes at Targhee to get a photo of the Tetons, reports state.
Garner removed his skis and stepped onto a cornice just outside the boundary near the top of the Blackfoot lift to get his shot. The cornice gave way, triggering an avalanche in a slide path labeled Aussie Drop on the Bridger-Teton Avalanche Center’s event list. The slide carried Garner over a cliff farther down the slope.
The nearly 300-foot freefall apparently did him no serious injury. Ski patrollers who responded were able to see him moving and he responded when they called to him.
By the time Teton County Search and Rescue had brought in the Teton Interagency helicopter, ski patrol had been able to reach Garner and transport him to a nearby loading zone, apparently under his own power, reports state.
He refused air transport to Eastern Idaho Regional Medical Center and was taken to Teton Valley Hospital by ambulance.
Air Idaho also responded but stood down after Teton County rescue volunteers arrived.
“Garner was at no time submerged or buried,” the report reads. “Patient had no critical injuries on preliminary examination.”
While Garner escaped without injury, he did not escape without consequence. After interviewing Garner in the hospital, a deputy issued the Aussie a citation for trespassing in a closed or unsafe area.
The citation is a misdemeanor under Wyoming law, punishable by a $100 fine.
Citations are given when someone “knowingly enters upon public or private lands from an adjoining ski area when the lands have been closed by the owner and posted as closed by the owner or by the ski area operator.”
Reports state that Garner ducked the ropes near a large red sign posting the closure.
Grand Targhee Resort marks its boundary with orange ropes and periodic signs stating that “going beyond this point may result in death and/or loss of skiing privileges.”
The Bridger-Teton Avalanche Center describes the snow slide that carried Garner as 24 inches deep on a 45 degree slope. The site also notes that debris from the cornice slide triggered “some small slab avalanches along the way in the cliffs.”