UPDATE: Avalanche Kills Two Backcountry Skiers in Grand Teton National Park
Rangers on Thursday recovered the bodies of two men who were killed by an avalanche during a backcountry skiing trip in Grand Teton National Park.
The victims were identified as Chris Onufer and Steve Romeo, both of Jackson, Wyoming, park officials said. Both were experienced backcountry skiers, they added.
Rangers believe the two were buried by a large avalanche sometime Wednesday. The avalanche initiated near the summit of the 11,355-foot Ranger Peak in the northern end of the Teton Range; it ran to the base of the peak, depositing a large debris field in Waterfalls Canyon.
The skiers were reported overdue to park officials Wednesday evening. Upon receiving word, park rangers made a sweep of trailhead parking lots at 11:15 p.m. Wednesday and found a vehicle associated with the overdue party at Colter Bay, 10 miles north of Moran Junction.
During an aerial reconnaissance flight Thursday morning rangers picked up two positive beacon hits at 8:48 a.m. from the debris field. Seven rangers were flown to the area to begin a physical search of the debris field using probe poles. Rangers reached the first body around 11:45 a.m. and second around noon.
The avalanche danger in the Tetons was listed as moderate on Wednesday afternoon, and low on Thursday morning, according to the Bridger-Teton National Forest.