Winter Recreation

Weekend storm brings fresh snow to Idaho ski areas — and prompts avalanche warnings

Snowboarder preaches safety after being caught up in this avalanche, catching all on camera

A man snowboarding down a mountain in the French Alps got caught up in an avalanche, catching the dramatic episode on his helmet camera.
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A man snowboarding down a mountain in the French Alps got caught up in an avalanche, catching the dramatic episode on his helmet camera.

The weekend ushered in a wave of warm temperatures in the Treasure Valley that are expected to last through the week. But in the mountains, it meant snow — and lots of it.

Ski areas across southern Idaho reported as much as 17 inches of snow in the past 48 hours, which proved to be both a blessing and a curse in some locations.

The snowfall, coupled with strong winds and existing snow conditions, prompted two avalanche advisories from the Payette Avalanche Center and a more severe avalanche warning from the Sawtooth Avalanche Center.

Four Idaho ski areas are in or near the avalanche danger zones. According to Sun Valley Resort’s website, avalanche mitigation was in progress on Monday. The resort was part of a multiple-zone avalanche warning, which cautions high potential for avalanches and “very dangerous avalanche conditions.”

The warning, which stretches from the Sawtooth Mountains through the Soldier Mountains and Wood River Valley, is in effect through Tuesday morning. Soldier Mountain ski area, which is open Thursdays through Sundays, also falls in the warning zone.

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Avalanche.org

Tamarack Resort, which reported 17 inches of new snow since Saturday, borders the advisory area near Donnelly. An avalanche advisory denotes the midlevel “considerable” potential for avalanches.

Brad Larsen, the resort’s general manager, said Tamarack patrols for avalanche danger daily and mitigates potentially dangerous situations as necessary. He said there was no avalanche danger for skiers and snowboarders within the resort’s terrain on Monday.

Brundage Mountain fell within the other Payette avalanche advisory area. The ski area saw 13 inches of snow over the weekend, and its website declared 100 percent of the mountain open to skiing and snowboarding on Monday.

Closer to home, Bogus Basin received 9 inches of snow over the weekend and could add even more on Tuesday. No avalanche warnings are in effect near Bogus.

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Nicole Blanchard is the Idaho Statesman’s outdoors and insight reporter. She grew up in Idaho, graduated from Idaho State University and Northwestern University and frequents the trails around Boise as much as she can.If you like seeing stories like this, please consider supporting our work with a digital subscription to the Idaho Statesman.

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