Boise If you're headed to the Idaho backcountry, you'll
want to be careful. Idaho avalanche deaths make up more than
25-percent of the national total so far this year.
Four people have died in the Gem State in avalanches so far
this season. According to the Colorado Geological Survey,
that's the most Idaho has seen since at least 1985.
Idaho's avalanche fatalities have all happened within the
last couple of months. In early January, Marsha Landoldt and
Robert Busch were killed while sleeping in their beds near
Fairfield, Idaho when an avalanche slammed into their cabin.
In late February, a snowmobiler was killed in the backcountry
just west of Ketchum, and just this past weekend, another
snowmobiler was buried and killed in more than five feet of
snow at Jeru Peak near Sandpoint after triggering an avalanche.
Avalanche experts say there could be many reasons for the
increase in numbers, including just an unpredictable slide,
like the one that killed Landoldt and Busch. Idaho has also
seen quite a bit more snow than usual this season and more
people are going out to play in it.
Idaho Mountain Search and Rescuers encourage snowmobilers
and skiers to have the proper equipment when headed to the
Have everything you can to make it easier for them
to find you, said trainer George Gunn. Have a
probe and shovels in your group. Everybody should have an
avalanche beacon and know how to make it work.
Gunn said people are buying more and more equipment
like snowmobiles which enable them to travel to places
where avalanche dangers are high.
Avalanche experts warn that as the weather gets warmer, we
may see more avalanches in our state.
CASCADE Valley County officials are warning recreation
enthusiasts to be extra careful in the backcountry.
The avalanche risk is moderate in most areas of the county,
but on slopes more than 35 degrees the risk is rated as considerable.
The sheriff's office says windy ridges are especially dangerous
right now because they've been loaded with loose, redistributed
snow and there's not much bonding between the layers of snow.
Officials say people need to be cautious, bring enough equipment
to survive overnight and always let someone know where they