AP NEWS

Jackson Hole, Targhee to reopen gates

March 1, 2019

Jackson Hole Mountain Resort plans to reopen its backcountry gates Friday, following the first complete prohibition of backcountry access in the resort’s history.

Officials from the resort, Teton County Search and Rescue, Grand Teton National Park and the Bridger-Teton National Forest decided Tuesday to close the gates amid a storm cycle that had already dumped four feet of snow in the Tetons and raised the avalanche danger rating to “high” at all elevations.

With highway closures, rescues and other emergencies popping up around the region, officials agreed it was not worth risking backcountry accidents, which would draw limited resources away from efforts to maintain public safety.

“We collectively feel like we now have the resources to respond to incidents,” resort spokeswoman Anna Cole said.

It was an unprecedented move for the resort, which had previously closed specific gates but never backcountry access altogether.

A group of skiers exited the resort boundaries during the gate closure Thursday, leaving two stranded overnight while awaiting rescue.

Grand Targhee Resort also closed its Scotty’s and Mary’s backcountry gates Wednesday at the request of Search and Rescue, but it will reopen them Friday as well.

This article has been revised to reflect that a group of skiers did violate the gate closure Thursday. — Ed.