She was a 29-year old doctor & survivors of the avalanche in Silver Mountain Resort in Idaho have been speaking of their experience. PlanetSKI reports from neighbouring Utah.

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The third body was found on Thursday after a huge search operation that lasted two days.

A private air rescue crew based out of Montana discovered the body of 29 year old Dr Molly Hubbard buried under 6m of  snow.

“It is with profound sadness that we acknowledge the death of Dr. Molly Hubbard,” the University of Minnesota Department of Neurosurgery said in a statement.

Dr Hubbard graduated from the school’s residency program in 2019 and was working at Oregon Health and Science University.

One of those dug out, Bill Fuzak, has been posting of his experience.

He was buried under 3m of snow for around 50-minutes, much longer than most avalanche survivors.

He was unable to move anything but his right hand and managed to clear snow from his face and mouth.

“I had already relegated myself to the inevitable as I knew the air would not last long,” Fuzak, 62, wrote on a public Facebook page for skiers.

“I’m really surprised how calm I felt, but knew there was nothing I could do but wait and pray.”

“The first thing I remember when coming back to consciousness was a group of rescuers cheering that a survivor had been located — me,” Fuzak wrote in what he called a “personal summary” on Facebook about the ordeal.

The avalanche happened on Tuesday morning in the Wardner Peak area.

Avalanche control had taken place in the resort earlier in the morning after 30cm of fresh snow.

The investigation will focus on why the area was declared open.

A full-scale rescue operation swung into action and one person was found on Tuesday afternoon.

The second victim was located after nightfall.

On Wednesday the authorities received a call from a person concerned about a missing family member who was thought to be in the area at the time of the avalanche.

An exhaustive search was conducted with 80 people involved but no person was found that day.

“Search efforts have been suspended for the night on Silver Mountain. Approximately 80 searchers probed the debris fields today,” said the resort on Wednesday.

The first two victims were named as Carl Humphreys, who was 58, and 48-year old Scott Parsons.

“Thank you to Silver Mountain Ski Patrol, as well as the Shoshone County Sheriff’s Office, Shoshone County Search and Rescue, Coeur d’Alene FEMA Disaster Team, ski patrol members from all resorts in the region, and all people who volunteered their time and effort,” said a statement from the resort.

“Our deepest condolences and support go out to all the family members and those involved in this incident, including victims, witnesses, and first responders.”

An investigation is underway.

“Our deepest condolences go out to all the family and friends affected by this tragic event,” said the local sheriff’s office.

The resort was closed on Wednesday and Thursday and has now re-opened.

Last season 25 people died in avalanches in the USA.

PlanetSKI is currently in Park City in the neighbouring state of Utah where there is a Level 3 danger, which means there is “considerable” risk of avalanche.

More snow is set to fall over coming days

One person died in the resort recently and another had a narrow escape as we reported earlier on PlanetSKI.

I have been hearing from a local ski and avalanche patroller, Levi Wegleitner, here in Utah.

Avalanche safety advice from the US Rockies

PlanetSKI has been speaking to the avalanche experts after the tragedy in Idaho that has left 2 people dead, I missing with 4 rescued.Read more of the incident here: https://www.planetski.eu/2020/01/09/2-dead-1-missing-4-injured-in-us-avalanche/

Posted by PlanetSKI.eu on Thursday, 9 January 2020

“Slabs of wind drifted snow are the main problem to look for and avoid,” said the Utah Avalanche Centre.

“We also have a considerable danger for triggering a slab avalanche on steep slopes that face east to west at the upper elevations failing on a persistent weak layer of snow found near a crust. Regardless of which one you trigger, both types of avalanches could be large enough to catch, carry and bury a person.”

There is danger across other parts of North America

  • 3 people survived an avalanche in Grand Targhee in Wyoming.
  • 3 snowmobilers triggered an avalanche in Big Ski in Montana last weekend. All survived.
  • In Canada 1 person has died in an avalanche near Merritt in British Columbia.

Caution is urged.

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