By Tom Ninneman, Cowboy State Daily
Teton County’s Search and Rescue Team has been involved in more active missions since Jan. 1 than it was through all of the 2019-2020 winter season, officials have announced.
Since the beginning of the year, the team has been called out 31 times — responding to events including five fatalities, three involving avalanches.
Of the 31 responses, 24 resulted in active missions, more than during the entire previous winter season.
Specifically, Search and Rescue has performed ten missions over the past nine days.
Not only have the missions this winter been frequent, they have also been mentally and physically demanding for the volunteers.
Nine of the calls have resulted in short-haul operations, during which volunteers are inserted on-scene via a long line beneath a helicopter.
Three people have died in avalanches in northwestern Wyoming since mid-February, two snowboarders and one snowmobiler.
The deaths prompted the Teton County Search and Rescue to stress the importance of being prepared, practiced, and present.
The team urges patience to give the new snow time to settle, and no matter what your activity is, take the necessary precautions to ensure that you can return home safely at the end of the day.
Search and Rescue Chief Advisor Cody Lockhart explains that the seriousness of these frequent accidents does take a toll on the rescue team and often puts them at risk when recovering injured parties from the scenes of incidents.