UPDATE: Skiers rescued out of Granite Canyon
UPDATE 8 a.m. Friday: Grand Teton National Park rangers entered Granite Canyon early this morning and rescued two stranded skiers.
“Two individuals were rescued with no injuries at approximately 3 a.m. today,” Denise Germann said. “Grand Teton National Park, Teton County Search and Rescue, Bridger-Teton National Forest and Jackson Hole Mountain Resort cooperatively stress the significance of respecting current backcountry conditions and making informed decisions regarding recreational endeavors, as well as abiding by rules and regulations.”
More information on the rescue will be released Friday afternoon.
ORIGINAL ARTICLE: A group of skiers violated a closure at Jackson Hole Mountain Resort on Thursday, leaving two of them stuck after sundown in Granite Canyon.
Grand Teton National Park rangers are coming up with a plan to reach the two stranded skiers, according to public information officer Denise Germann.
Their ski partners reported them lost to Jackson Hole Mountain Resort ski patrol on Thursday afternoon. Resort ski patrol called park rangers and Teton County Search and Rescue to assist in the search. Search and Rescue flew a helicopter over the area just before sundown, but didn’t pinpoint the stranded party’s exact location, incident commander KC Bess said.
In an unprecedented move, the resort had closed backcountry access this week and given skiers repeated warnings not to leave resort boundaries. 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.
An avalanche warning is in effect until 6 a.m. Friday and will be re-evaluated at 5 a.m. Conditions remain dangerous.
“At the mid and upper elevations huge loads have been placed on top of a snowpack that has buried persistent weak layers and areas with poor basal snow structure,” the Bridger-Teton Avalanche Center warned in its Thursday evening advisory. “The natural release or human triggering of very large slab avalanches is a real concern with potentially severe consequences. The general avalanche hazard is expected to be considerable on Friday. Patience and conservative terrain choices are essential until the snowpack finishes adjusting to the massive loading that occurred during the past five days. Tomorrow’s sunshine could increase the hazard during the day.”
This is a developing story that will be updated as more information becomes available.