Togwotee Pass avalanche

Teton County Search and Rescue volunteers respond to an avalanche burial on Thursday off Togwotee Pass.

The Bridger-Teton Avalanche Center has raised the avalanche danger to high above 9,000 feet. That's the fourth step of five on the North American danger scale rating.

New snow from this storm is unevenly distributed, with Jackson Hole Mountain Resort seeing 20 inches and Grand Targhee Resort only getting 8. The danger is considerable at midelevations and moderate at low ones.

The most glaring problem today is the persistent deep slab danger. Those are deeply buried weak layers that could result in large avalanches.

Those weaknesses in the snowpack that formed during earlier dry periods may be triggered by the increased load from this storm, which could deposit another 10 inches today.

"In areas where the snowpack has remained thin this season, like on south-facing slopes and at the mid and lower elevations, skiers and riders could trigger slab avalanche 3 to 6 feet deep and these avalanches will likely be un-survivable," the morning bulletin reads.

Two men died in separate avalanches this week, one on Togwotee Pass and another near Greys River Road. Twenty-two people have died in avalanches in the United States in the past three weeks, bringing the season total to 29.

Contact Tom Hallberg at 732-7079 or

Tom Hallberg covers a little bit of everything, from skiing to long-form feature stories. A Teton Valley, Idaho, transplant by way of Portland and Bend, Oregon, he spends his time outside work writing fiction, splitboarding and climbing.

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