At least 12 people have died in avalanches nationally this season, including six since Sunday.
An avalanche in the Wallowa Mountains of Eastern Oregon killed two backcountry skiers and seriously injured two others Tuesday, officials said. The group comprised a party of eight skiers, including two guides, on a five-day trip organized by Wallowa Alpine Huts of Joseph, Ore., company owner Connelly Brown said.
Four unhurt skiers from the party of eight were being brought out by snowcat, but rescuers were unable to reach the injured skiers because of the incline of the slope they were on, the undersheriff said. The injured woman suffered two broken legs and a shoulder injury while the man had a broken thigh bone.
A helicopter was dispatched to rescue the survivors but couldn’t get closer than 1.5 miles from the skiers. The Idaho Army National Guard also sent a reconnaissance helicopter.
And two Colorado avalanches claimed lives in the past few days. A Colorado skier was caught in an avalanche Monday just outside Keystone Ski Resort. His skiing partner was able to pull himself out and go for help. Members of the Summit County Rescue Group searched for the victim on Monday and Tuesday, finding his body Tuesday morning.
Another avalanche near Kebler Pass, outside Crested Butte, Colo., killed a snowmobiler Monday, said Gunnison County Coroner Frank Vader. Another person also was trapped in that slide but survived.
Three skiers survived an avalanche Monday near Silverton in southwestern Colorado. One man skied out and two others were swept into some trees but were not buried, the Durango Herald reported. All three were taken to a hospital where they were examined and released.
Two other people died in slides in Utah over the weekend. On Sunday, a college student from Colorado Springs died after being caught in an avalanche while she was snowshoeing Saturday in American Fork Canyon. About 90 miles away in Sanpete County, a snowmobiler died after being buried in a slide also on Sunday.