Hiking & Trails

Young Idaho mother who lost husband in avalanche installs warning signs to honor his memory

Young mother of 3 pushing for changes after her husband dies in avalanche

After Adam Andersen’s avalanche-related death, his wife, Summer, created the nonprofit Adam Andersen Avalanche Project and raised money to install avalanche warning signs in eastern Idaho’s Island Park.
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After Adam Andersen’s avalanche-related death, his wife, Summer, created the nonprofit Adam Andersen Avalanche Project and raised money to install avalanche warning signs in eastern Idaho’s Island Park.

ISLAND PARK — Nine months ago, Summer Andersen’s husband rode up a trail in eastern Idaho’s Island Park. He did not come back alive.

Andersen wrote about the experience on her Facebook page. She had spent the day in Island Park installing avalanche warning signs in the very place her husband died earlier this year, according to EastIdahoNews.com.

“Today I stood there and couldn’t help but ask, ‘Why?’” Andersen said. “I miss my best friend and partner. I miss the father of my beautiful children. I miss Adam so much it is painful.”

Adam, 36, was snowmobiling with friends on Jan. 10 when he was caught in an avalanche in the Mt. Jefferson area of Island Park. His body was recovered the next morning, and his death left 6-year-old Dash, 3-year-old Atlas and 3-month-old Lake without a father.

He was one of three people killed in avalanches in Idaho during the 2017-18 winter season. During the same time period, 25 avalanche-related fatalities were reported nationwide.

Several days after Adam’s death, Andersen felt compelled to do something to help other families from dealing with the raw pain she was experiencing. She created the nonprofit Adam Andersen Avalanche Project and raised money to install avalanche warning signs in Island Park.

“With my grief, focusing on this has been a good outlet for me,” Andersen said. “It’s almost therapeutic for me to get lost in this. I think about what happened, and it seems so senseless.”

With the help of a fundraiser at Action Motor Sports and other donations, Andersen raised enough money to cover five warning signs. She and workers with the U.S. Forest Service installed the signs at five different trailheads.

Andersen is using other money she’s raised to pay for five avalanche bags consisting of safety equipment that snowmobilers, skiers and others can use for free while exploring Island Park. Free awareness courses are also planned to educate people on the dangers of avalanches.

The Andersens were living in Ammon when Adam died, but Summer has since moved to Boise to be closer to family. Each year, she plans to put signs in areas of across the state, like the Palisades, where avalanche dangers could be high.

“All I can do is hope and pray that another person will pause at these signs and see ‘In memory of Adam Andersen’ and take extra caution that day,” she said.

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