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Incident Update at Jackson Hole Mountain Resort™


Posted on - 2010-01-06

For future updates on Big Wally's condition please navigate to his Caring Bridge page which has been set up by his friends and family.

(Jackson Hole, Wyoming, January 6, 2010 4.00pm MST) As stated previously at approximately 8:26am this morning routine early morning avalanche hazard reduction work by Jackson Hole Mountain Resort (JHMR) Ski Patrol triggered an avalanche on the upper mountain.

This incident took place prior to the lifts being open to the public. Jackson Hole Mountain Resort received 10 inches of snow in the previous 24 hours and substantial amounts in the previous week.

Further Information regarding the avalanche site:
Length of Avalanche Path – Approx: 1000 feet
Crown Height (Max): 42 inches. 3.5 feet
Crown Length: 130 feet wide
Avy Classification (1-5): R3D3
Cliff Band Height: 25-30 feet
Slope Angle: 34 Degrees

The next JHMR statement regarding this incident will be made if we hear any change to the current condition of veteran ski patroller Mark Wolling who was caught in the slide. Mark “Big Wally” Wolling is hospitalized at the Eastern Idaho Regional Medical Center.
 

(Jackson Hole, Wyoming, January 6, 2010: 12.40pm MST) As stated previously at approximately 8:26am this morning routine early morning avalanche hazard reduction work by Jackson Hole Mountain Resort (JHMR) Ski Patrol triggered an avalanche of significant size down the northeast aspect of Cheyenne Bowl on the upper mountain.

This incident took place prior to the lifts being open to the public. Jackson Hole Mountain Resort received 10 inches of snow in the previous 24 hours and substantial amounts in the previous week.

Situation Details
Members of JHMR Ski Patrol were conducting routine avalanche hazard reduction on the Cheyenne Bowl Route (Elevation Approx 9350’). An initial hand charge was deployed from Rendezvous Trail into Cheyenne Bowl with no result. Two patrollers ski cut the area below and deployed two more hand charges. These second charges caused the snow to fracture above where the patrolmen were located. One was able to self arrest using a tree and the other was caught in the slide. The avalanche travelled over a cliff below to the bottom of Cheyenne Bowl. Mark Wolling (Patrolman since 1989) was buried in the slide. Following a hasty search by patrollers in the vicinity, Wolling was found and uncovered from approximately 6 feet of snow in about ten minutes.

JHMR Ski Patrol conducted CPR and administered AED (Automated External Defibrillator) while readying for transport to the Teton Village Clinic. Wolling was transported to Teton Village Clinic in approximately six minutes, where further treatment was administered. At the time of transport to St Johns Medical Center, Jackson, Wolling was exhibiting vital signs.

“It has been an extremely tough morning for all our patrollers and staff. I am very grateful to everyone for their efforts. Our thoughts and prayers are with Mark and his family right now.” “He is an amazing person who has been on the JHMR team since 1978, he’s definitely part of our family.” stated Jerry Blann, President, JHMR.

Jackson Hole Mountain Resort has established standards and protocols for minimizing the risk of avalanche that are based on the current weather and snowpack conditions. Jackson Hole Mountain Resort receives over 400 inches of snow annually and is dedicated to making the skiing and riding as safe as possible for our guests. Avalanche conditions change hour-by-hour and day-by-day. JHMR Ski Patrol continuously monitors elements of the weather and snowpack conditions 24 hours a day throughout the winter and uses this information to continually assess potential hazards.

At the time of this release Jackson Hole Mountain Resort is operating all lifts except for the Aerial Tram, Sublette and Thunder quad which will remain closed for the remainder of the day.

The next JHMR statement regarding this incident will be made at 4.00pm MST today.