Snowboarder Killed in Teton County Avalanche

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By Tom Ninnneman, Cowboy State Daily

Another person recreating in the backcountry of northwestern Wyoming has died as the result of an avalanche. 

Teton County Search and Rescue said Michael McKelvey, 31, a seasonal resident of Jackson, died after being caught in an avalanche Thursday near Wind River Lake near the top of Togwotee Pass.

He was the second person this week to die from injuries suffered in an avalanche in northwestern Wyoming.

Teton County Search and Rescue said its members were notified just after noon Thursday of a snowboarder buried in an avalanche.

Search and Rescue Chief Advisor Cody Lockhart says a group of snowboarders had built a substantial “kicker” to launch up toward a slope, and when McKelvey landed, it triggered the slide, which Lockhart described as having a 5-foot crown. 

McKelvey was totally buried, Lockhart said. He added McKelvey was wearing a beacon and his companions were able to uncover him and begin life support efforts. 

Members of Teton County Search and Rescue were training on snowmobiles a short distance away and were on the scene within 10 to 15 minutes. 

Team members continued efforts to resuscitate McKelvey and restored a pulse until he was short-hauled to an ambulance which took him to the airport to be flown to Idaho Falls.  He later died at the hospital. 

The death occurred one day after an avalanche in Lincoln County claimed the life of a Michigan man who was part of a snowmobiling group.

According to reports, one of the riders in that incident triggered an avalanche that caught and covered Greg Stanczak of Ironwood, Michigan.

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