Utah avalanche kills pro skier

15th November 2011, by Chris Gill

Jamie Pierre in action in Wyoming (Teton Gravity)

Jamie Pierre in action in Wyoming (Teton Gravity)

The first avalanche-related death of the US winter season has claimed the life of Pro skier/snowboarder Matthew Jamie Pierre, in Snowbird Utah.

Jamie Pierre is best known for his world record achievement in 2006, with a 255-foot cliff jump at Grand Targhee in Wyoming; but also for taking part in various films, such as those by Warren Miller. The American triggered last weekend’s slide while snowboarding with a friend in South Chute in Gad Valley.

Snowbird has not opened for the season yet, nor has its neighbour Alta, so no avalanche or mountain controls were in force. And it is claimed that although the pair are expert skiers, neither was carrying off-piste equipment.

The avalanche apparently swept Jamie Pierre several hundred feet, through rocks and over a cliff. The Utah Avalanche Center reported the depth of the soft slab was about 50cm and ran about 45m wide.

Snowbird plans to open this Saturday 19 November, already with some good snowfall recently (amounting to a metre, according to the resort’s snow reports).

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