Backcountry and Snow Safety

Backcountry Warning and Information

The ski area assumes no responsibility for skiers or riders going beyond the ski area boundary. Areas beyond the ski area boundary are not patrolled or maintained. Avalanches, unmarked obstacles and other natural hazards exist. Rescue in the backcountry, if available, will be costly and may take time.

Grand Targhee Backcountry Access Policy

Backcountry is defined by any area outside of the ski resort’s boundary Grand Targhee Resort has a Closed Boundary/Open Gate Backcountry Access Policy. Access in lift-served terrain is permitted through our Backcountry Access Gates, but it is not permitted through our roped ski area boundaries. When open, Targhee’s Peaked and Mary’s Nipple terrain has an open boundary policy. Our Peaked and Mary’s Boundary is designated by a boundary sign line.

The Scotty’s Backcountry Gate

Grand Targhee neither encourages nor discourages backcountry touring. Backcountry users are essentially “on their own”, and accept their own risks. Make sure you read all signs before entering. Backcountry users need to make their own decisions about avalanche conditions and if the terrain is skiable. Once riders leave this boundary, it is not patrolled. When leaving resort boundaries skiers and snowboarders enter the Jedediah Smith Wilderness and the Caribou/Targhee National Forest where there is no Avalanche Hazard Reduction and the only rescue is through Teton County, WY Sheriff and Search and Rescue. That rescue could be delayed hours, or into the next day.

Backcountry Skiing

Grand Targhee Resort neither encourages nor discourages backcountry touring. Skiers/snowboarders crossing out of the Grand Targhee Resort boundaries do so at their own risk. Read the posted signs at the designated access gates before proceeding. Call the Bridger-Teton National Forest Backcountry Avalanche Hazard & Weather Forecast at 307.733.2664 for more information or contact the Activities Center to schedule a guided backcountry experience with Yostmark Mountain Guides 1 307.353.2300 ext.1355.

Warning: Risk of Avalanche
Know Before You GO – Check current Teton Avalanche Conditions – JHAvalanche.org!

While snow safety and avalanche mitigation efforts help reduce the risk of avalanches, avalanches and snow slides may occur at ski areas, both inside and outside of the posted boundaries. Avalanches are inherent risk of the sport due to the nature of snow and its application on steep mountain terrain. Become educated on how to reduce the risk of injury or death from avalanches through your own actions and awareness. Visit avalanche.org or contact Grand Targhee ski patrol for further information on the risks and prevention of avalanche-related injuries or death.

Avalanche Terrain

The backcountry surrounding Grand Targhee Resort is extreme terrain and contains numerous avalanche paths, cornices and cliff areas. In the backcountry you are at high risk of avalanche, lost, stuck, cliffed-out and/or injury. Most avalanche fatalities occur in the backcountry. Outside the boundary, avalanches are not created by ski patrol with explosives; they are created naturally and by people. Be Aware of the Hazard and read the Bridger Teton Avalanche Hazard Advisory before venturing into the backcountry. Even taking all of the precautions, your safety in the backcountry is not guaranteed! Backcountry Access Gates will be equipped with a BCA Beacon Checker. Make sure you have fresh batteries and are transmitting. Look for these signs to find the solar powered BCA Beacon Checker. Stop by Ski Patrol to ask any questions you have about our Backcountry Access Policy, or if you need further information. Patrol will periodically host Avalanche Awareness Sessions during the winter season. Please participate in an Avalanche class from American Avalanche Institute at American Avalanche Institute in Victor www.americanavalancheinstitute.com if you plan on going into the backcountry.

This advisory is posted at the Scotty’s Gate and at both patrol stations. It is also available online at www.jhavalanche.org or call 307-733-2664

Always ski one at a time with a partner and have the proper equipment (Beacon, Shovel and Probe). Make sure you and your partner know how to use and practice with your equipment. In the event of an avalanche your partner is your best chance of survival.

Backcountry Access Gates will be equipped with a BCA Beacon Checker. Make sure you have fresh batteries and are transmitting. Look for these signs to find the solar powered BCA Beacon Checker. Stop by Ski Patrol to ask any questions you have about our Backcountry Access Policy, or if you need further information. Patrol will periodically host Avalanche Awareness Sessions during the winter season.

Please participate in an Avalanche class from American Avalanche Institute at American Avalanche Institute in Victor www.americanavalancheinstitute.com if you plan on going into the backcountry.

 

Designation of Boundary Types

Information on closures will be available by calling 1 307-353-2300 ext.1333 between 9am and 4pm Grand Targhee Resort acknowledges and marks its boundaries in several forms:

Caribou-Targhee National Forest Permit Area:

The total area allowed by the National Forest Service for use by Grand Targhee Resort. As each of the following zones resides within, the Permit Area itself bears no marking.

Ski Area Boundary:

The total zone within the designated permit area that Grand Targhee Resort determines as their official boundary. This boundary may be subject to change, and will be delineated by “Ski Area Boundary” signs. Some Ski Area Boundary zones are also Closed Areas. Backcountry users may leave the Ski Area Boundary at any time by way of the “Open Backcountry Gate” located at Scotty’s Couloir (unless closed by the USFS or the Teton County Wyoming Sheriff’s Office). Other backcountry access zones are located within Closed, Avalanche Areas (see below), and may only be used when these areas are open for use. These areas lack rope lines and “Closed” signs, but have the requisite “Ski Area Boundary” signs.

Closed Area:

Consisting of sub-zones within the Ski Area Boundary, Closed Areas are marked with “Closed” signs and rope lines. Access to these areas is prohibited, and violators may be subject to Law Enforcement penalties.

Closed, Avalanche Area:

As a subset of the Closed Area policy, Avalanche Areas may be accessed by users when allowed and indicated by qualified Grand Targhee Resort personnel. These areas have specific flip signs that read “Closed- Avalanche Area” when closed, and “Caution- Avalanche Hazard” when open for use. Gates in the area’s rope line will be opened when access is allowed and closed when disallowed. All users must enter the area through these gates only. Closed, Avalanche Areas within the permit area will be posted on status boards at the appropriate lift loading area and will be included as part of the snow report.

Deep Snow and Tree Well Safety

 

Grand Targhee Resort is world renowned for deep light snow. While this is most always a good thing there are inherent hazards related to deep snow within the resort boundaries! NARSID stands for Non-Avalanche Related Snow Immersion Death. NARSID incidents occur with deep snow or tree well immersions, in which a rider or skier falls into an area of deep, unconsolidated snow and becomes immobilized. The more the person struggles, the more entrapped in the snow they become, and risk suffocation.

  • Each skier or snowboarder controls his or her own level of risk and are the only ones that can prevent this type of accident from happening. Always ski and ride with a partner. To minimize your risk, you must know how to travel safely with your partners in these un-groomed deep snow areas.
  • Always stay in visual contact so that your partner(s) can see you if you fall. Visual contact means stopping and watching your partner descend at all times, then proceeding downhill while he or she watches you at all times. It does no good if your partner is already waiting for you in lift line while you are still descending the slope.
  • Stay close enough to either pull or dig out. If you have any question about what “close enough” to assist someone in a tree well is, hold your breath while you are reading this. The amount of time before you need air may be how much time your partner has to pull or dig you out of danger. Other factors such as creating an air pocket or the position you fall in, may affect this critical time frame.
  • Remember, if you lose visual contact with your partner you could lose your friend. It is important to know that most people who have died in deep snow or tree well accidents had been skiing or riding with “partners” at the time of their accident. Unfortunately, none of these partners were in visual contact so they were not able to be of help in a timely manner.
  • If you have lost contact with a friend or group, contact Grand Targhee Resort patrol at ext.1333.

Tree Wells & SIS Safety: What is a Treewell or SIS Accident from SIS Safety Videos on Vimeo.

Learn more at: www.deepsnowsafety.org/

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