New snow creating 'prime avalanche conditions'; 4 Wyoming fatalities this winter - Casper, WY Oil City News
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New snow creating ‘prime avalanche conditions’; 4 Wyoming fatalities this winter

The Broken Thumb Route where an avalanche led to a fatality in Grand Teton National Park on Monday. (Bridger-Teton Avalanche Center)

CASPER, Wyo. — New snowfall in western mountains is leading to “prime avalanche conditions, especially in the higher back country areas,” the National Weather Service in Riverton said on Tuesday, Feb. 23.

The National Park Service reported on Monday that Jackson resident Matthew Brien, 33, died in an avalanche on the Broken Thumb Couloir on the peak known as 25 Short in Grand Teton National Park.

The Bridger-Teton Avalanche Center reports that four people have died in avalanches during the 2020-2021 winter season in Wyoming.

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The center is reporting “very dangerous” avalanche conditions in the Continental Divide Trails/Togwotee Pass area and in the Teton area. Both areas are at level 4 (high) avalanche danger on the five point scale.

“Dangerous” conditions are also reported on the Southwest Trails/Grey’s River area which is at level 3 (considerable) avalanche danger.

The Bridger-Teton Avalanche Center said that someone being caught in an avalanche similar to the event in Grand Teton on Monday “will almost certainly result in another fatality.”

“It is critical for skiers and riders to choose the appropriate terrain for the current avalanche conditions,” the center said. “Play it safe today and come home to your friends and family; stay off of and out from underneath terrain steeper than 30 degrees.”