Skier dies in avalanche near Grand Targhee Resort

Grand Targhee avalanche

On Sunday, an avalanche n the backcountry near Grand Targhee Resort (above) claimed the life of a skier. Photo: Courtesy of Grand Targhee

A skier died in Wyoming after triggering an avalanche at around 4 p.m. Sunday in the backcountry area near the Grand Targhee Resort. According to Snow Brains, that brings the total number of avalanche deaths this year in the United States to 20 before the first day of March. By comparison, the U.S. saw a total of 11 avalanche deaths all of last winter.

RELATED: Two skiers die in avalanche near Jackson Hole

The Teton County Sheriff’s Office confirmed to the Jackson Hole News & Guide that a 30-year-old Jackson, Wyoming, man named Ernesto Rodriguez-Becerra was killed when a cornice collapsed outside the Grand Targhee Resort boundary Sunday.

According to an incident report filed by the Bridger Teton Avalanche Center, the cornice collapsed after Rodriguez-Becerra clicked out of his ski bindings and walked out of bounds under a ropeline and onto a closed boundary. His fall triggered an avalanche which carried him over the side of a large cliff.

By the time a rescue team recovered his body under two feet of snow and debris, he had already died of trauma.

As noted, this winter season has already been particularly fraught with avalanche deaths. January saw 12 people in the United States die from avalanches, the highest total for the month in nearly two decades, and according to Snow Brains, the total of 20 deaths may likely increase when the bodies of the missing skiers in California and Alaska are found.

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